June 10, 2006
To Our Fellow Members,
In this annual report to writers, you will find the Guild's financial statements, recent accomplishments, and other relevant industry and employment data for this past fiscal year.
In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, the Guild, for the first time since fiscal year 2000, saw a deficit. This shortfall of $202,611 is modest in relationship to our overall financial health. To put this in context, the Guild received $24.3 million in revenues and investment income combined, while spending a total of $24.5 million. Thus, the deficit amounted to less than 1 percent of our total receipts for the fiscal year.
For fiscal year 2006 Guild revenues of $22.4 million were 5.2 percent higher than fiscal year 2005's total of $21.3 million. This increase was the result of higher member earnings and a resultant gain in dues, which increased significantly to $18.7 million from $17.6 million the previous year.
Investment income, not included in Guild revenues above, totaled about $1.9 million last year. This was up from $0.9 million for fiscal year 2005. This increase was primarily due to favorable returns and market gains on our very conservative investments, which benefited from the increases in short term interest rates.
While the revenues side was strong, Guild expenditures, at the same time, grew to $24.5 million, up 13.9 percent over last year's $21.5 million. Three factors were the most significant contributors to this increase. First was the one-time expense associated with settling Executive Director John McLean's contract with the Guild and in hiring Korn/Ferry International to conduct a search for a new executive director. Second were the costs of negotiating with the WGA East on constitutional changes to our affiliation agreement. Finally, and, we believe, most importantly, were the costs involved in the increased staff and budget of our Organizing Department. That vital department, which employed a staff of seven last year, now numbers 17. The subsequent increase in payroll and other expenses was necessary for us to move forward with our plans to bring all writers of film, TV, and the expanding universe of new technologies into the ranks of the membership of the Writers Guilds, East and west.
Capital expenditures totaled $0.6 million in fiscal year 2006. Significant investment is continuing in information technology and software upgrades to streamline the Guild's collection of data. A major web site overhaul was completed during the year. Members, thanks to this upgrade, can now review their residuals history, declare their earnings, pay dues by credit card, and make reservations for Guild-sponsored events. Members can also search a database of individuals for whom the Guild holds undeliverable funds and learn the procedures to claim those funds.
For a second year, we distributed almost $8 million in foreign levies to our member writers (East and west), heirs and beneficiaries of deceased members, and non-member writers of animation and nonfiction. Undeliverable funds reached $7.2 million by the end of the fiscal year. This money is in two main categories residuals and clip payments due to writers who cannot be located; and foreign levies monies held for more than seven years. The Guild continues to commit resources to identify and locate the recipients of these funds. Money is never truly undeliverable. The Guild is prepared to distribute fully any of these funds should the writers or their heirs who are entitled to them come forward.
Net assets belonging to the Guild decreased slightly to $30.6 million. The Guild owns its headquarters and has an unused $4 million line of credit. The Guild's investments stand at $18.3 million, including $11.4 million in our Strike Fund and Good and Welfare Fund combined. This should serve as a valuable reserve as we prepare for our upcoming MBA negotiations. The expiration of our current contract is 16 months away.
Your Membership and Finance Committee is made up of five members and is mandated by the WGAw constitution. Among its duties, the committee oversees the annual audit process performed by the independent accounting firm of Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. The Guild staff and Interim Executive Director David Young operate under sound and prudent accounting policies, which they implement on behalf of the membership.
We, the undersigned members of the Membership and Finance Committee, present this Annual Report to keep you informed about the Guild's financial situation. We invite you to join in your Guild's effort to protect writers and to improve the working conditions and benefits that our members have won for us over the years.
The Membership and Finance Committee John Bowman, Elias Davis (chair), Tony DeSena, Adam Rodman, Steven Schwartz
2005 Annual Report to Writers
2004 Annual Report to Writers
2003 Annual Report to Writers
2002 Annual Report to Writers
2001 Annual Report to Writers
2000 Annual Report to Writers
1999 Annual Report to Writers
1998 Annual Report to Writers