LOS ANGELES - HOLLYWOOD writers went on strike on Monday despite last-minute talks aimed at ending a standoff between studios and wordsmiths demanding a share of cash brought in from DVDs and online distribution of shows.
'Talks are ongoing but the strike is on,' Writers Guild of America spokeswoman Sherry Goldman told reporters.
The strike deadline was a minute into Monday in each US time zone, meaning writers in New York City were the first to walk off their jobs, according to Goldman.
Members of the 12,000-strong union plan to begin picketing Monday morning at major studios in the Los Angeles area and outside NBC studio at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.
The first casualties of the walk-out are likely to be talk shows, soap operas, and comedy programs that rely on fresh scripts.
Major motion picture studios and television programs typically have stockpiles of scripts that can insulate them from feeling the effects of the strike for a year or longer.
Writers want a greater share of residual profits from television series sold on DVDs as well as percentages of money made from programs shown on the Internet, cellular phones, and other new media outlets.
Producers acknowledge that online viewing is increasing and promise to study the issue, but argue that it is too early to say how profitable it will be.
Writers are determined not to repeat a mistake made in 1984, when they underestimated how lucrative home video sales would become and settled for a contract that gives them just three cents of each DVD film sale. -- AFP