AMPTP Promotes Vivian Lien Ahead of Key Contract Talks

Vivian Lien - Publicity - H 2019

The trade group is heading into several negotiations with guilds including the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA within the next eight months.

Vivian Lien, who joined the the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers six years ago, has been promoted to vp, labor relations ahead of several upcoming contract talks, the trade group announced Wednesday. 

Before joining the organization that negotiates contract agreements with Hollywood unions, Lien was formerly a litigation associate at Sullivan and Cromwell, LLP and a judicial clerk. She serves on the board of trustees of the Directors Guild of America Contract Administration Trust.

The AMPTP is heading into several key negotiations with guilds including the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA within the next eight months ahead of mid-2020 contract expirations for all three unions' master television and theatrical agreements. If history is a guide, talks with directors are likely in December, while the WGA and subsequent SAG-AFTRA talks are expected to be held in the spring. However, no timing has been announced yet for any of the talks.

"Through hard work, tremendous dedication and boundless enthusiasm, Vivian has developed a comprehensive understanding and expertise in entertainment collective bargaining that’s worthy of her promotion," AMPTP president Carol Lombardini, the chief negotiator for the group, said in a statement. "Vivian’s meaningful contributions to industry-wide labor negotiations is a great asset to the AMPTP and the member companies it represents, and she is without question, a rising star."

Streaming residuals will likely be a major issue for all three upcoming negotiations (as well as for ongoing talks with the American Federation of Musicians). While Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, as well as upcoming platforms from Disney+, WarnerMedia and Comcast, spend billions on original programming, the above-the-line guilds receive residuals that many feel don't reflect the robust viewership on direct-to-consumer platforms — and the musicians don't receive streaming residuals at all.

In addition, writers and actors are plagued by holds and exclusivity connected with short-season shows that are typical on streamers (e.g., six to 10 episodes per season rather than the linear broadcast standard of 22). Also, the WGA is likely to demand a so-called "Collins clause" that would prohibit studios from working agents not franchised by the guild. Observers wonder whether the WGA, emboldened by a to-date resolute campaign against talent agents, will move to call a walkout against the studios, a move that could throw the industry into turmoil.

11/7/2019 9:30 a.m. clarified timing of upcoming talks.