How TV Streaming Has Hurt the Middle Class

Seems Netflix doesn't pay most creatives very much
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2018 5:00 PM CDT
How Streamed Shows Are Crushing the Middle Class
Stock image.   (YouTube)

Think the streaming wars are a boon for Hollywood types? Creatively, maybe so—but it turns out the current system leaves many working writers and actors struggling in ever-pricier Los Angeles, Fast Company reports. With shorter seasons, lower pay, and no residuals, many mid-level creatives with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the like survive by taking side-jobs as teachers or entrepreneurs. "It's a great time if you own your house and you don’t have that many expenses," says Rob Clark, whose credits include Heaven Can Wait and Cheers. "But if you’re in the middle and you’ve got a spouse, kids ... it’s a hard business." That's why seasoned actor Alison Becker decided to take a stand.

"I am grateful for work, but @Netflix, you really have to start paying your actors better wages. You have the money," she tweeted in August, urging the company to reveal its viewing numbers—presumably to give creatives proper residuals. A former Parks & Recreation actor, Becker has the fifth-biggest role on an upcoming Netflix show yet only netted about $200 a week. Meanwhile, the big streamers are paying millions to secure proven showrunners. "Hollywood has bifurcated completely," says a literary manager. "The rich are getting richer." Some put hope in Apple, which is making shows and promising better pay, per Variety. But many feel the chill: "I have friends who are like, 'That’s always how Hollywood’s been,'" says an actor. "And I'm like, 'No, it's different.'" (Meanwhile, Netflix has picked up a huge new series.)

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