Broken Promises Bulletin: How the Warner Bros. Discovery Merger Hurts Workers and Diversity
“Broken Promises: Media Mega Mergers and the Case for Antitrust Reform”
Los Angeles – A follow-up bulletin to the Writers Guild of America West’s 2021 report “Broken Promises: Media Mega Mergers and the Case for Antitrust Reform” highlights the ongoing damage caused by the 2022 merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery.
“Warner-Discovery is the latest disastrous merger to demonstrate the harms of consolidation, and particularly the threat to diversity when gatekeepers combine to increase their power. Almost immediately after closing, Warner Bros. Discovery broke the hollow promises it had made of merger benefits. As a result, writers—including many women and people of color—have lost opportunities and future income, while consumers are left with reduced variety and choice of content.” said WGAW Director of Research and Public Policy Laura Blum-Smith.
“In less than a year, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has eliminated hundreds of jobs, canceled numerous diverse and inclusive stories, and reduced competition for creative ideas. In short, the new owners of WBD are hollowing out an iconic American studio,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “These telling accounts from TV writers confirm that this merger undermines hard-fought progress to build an entertainment industry that reflects the American public. Antitrust regulators must do more to prevent mergers of this magnitude from stomping out competition. We need to protect consumers, workers, and content creators from the harmful effects of media consolidation.”
WarnerMedia and Discovery promised that their merger would allow the new company to invest in more original content and create more opportunity for underrepresented storytellers. Less than one year after the merger’s close, Warner Bros. Discovery has laid off hundreds of workers and canceled, pulled, or written off $2 billion in content, spotlighting the predictable harms of consolidation.
Read the bulletin, including three first-hand accounts from impacted creators here, and read the 2021 “Broken Promises” report here.
The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.