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A year in creators’ earnings research

Posted on    by Amy Thomas
Blog

A year in creators’ earnings research

By 4 December 2023December 5th, 2023No Comments

In 2022, we closed out the year with the publication of our report on UK Authors’ Earnings and Contracts, following a longitudinal series of research running since 2006. And as we near the end of 2023, today the preliminary results of our survey of freelance journalists’ earnings (supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society in collaboration with the National Union of Journalists) will be presented at the All Party Writers Group Winter Reception, at the House of Commons.

Whilst we don’t want to give away too many spoilers (stay tuned to our newsletter for the full report in early 2024), this impactful quote from our findings is a succinct summary of the freelance experience in 2023.

Quote from freelance journalist: "In general, journalism has become a much more unstable and challenging profession, It is not well rewarded- and I'm one of the luckier ones. I've never felt secure in 35 years. Every day doing the job is a small victory."And indeed, amid ongoing industrial relation struggles in the creative industries, this year has been a meaningful time for our research into the, typically precarious, lived experiences of our creators. 2023 saw the largest withdrawal of creative labour in Hollywood history, with the Writers Guild of America strike concerning, among other issues, payments of residuals from large streaming services. The ongoing implications of the strike will likely be felt for years to come, with early indications of similar industrial action anticipated in the video games industry, and controversial changes to payment structures for episodic writers of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

In response to these culturally, socially and economically important issues, CREATe will continue to conduct independent research into the earnings and contracts of primary creators. In 2024, we will conduct a ‘deep dive’ of screen talent, conducting empirical research with directors, audio-visual performers, and visual artists.  Also look out for a further report on independent authors with new, qualitative data, following from our earlier quantitative analysis.

Until then, check out some of the 2023 highlights of our work on creators’ earnings and contracts, including: