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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 22:59 GMT
Film directors agree studio deal
Striking writers
Writers are demanding payment for TV shows and films sold online
Film directors in the US have reached a contract deal with film and TV studios after five days of negotiations, the Hollywood directors' union said.

It could put pressure on striking writers to end their 10-week walkout.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since November over "residuals" - royalties for work distributed online or on DVD.

The dispute has brought to a standstill the production of nearly all TV comedy and drama shows.

Their writers' strike has already forced the Golden Globe film and TV awards to be scaled back to a news conference after actors said they would not cross the WGA picket line.

'No rollbacks'

The tentative agreement between the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers follows just five days of formal talks.

"Two words describe this agreement: groundbreaking and substantial," said the chairman of the DGA's negotiating team, Gil Cates. "There are no rollbacks of any kind."

Among other things, the deal includes a formula for royalties paid for internet downloads - which essentially doubles the rate which is currently paid.

It also establishes rates for material which is streamed on the internet.

Leaders of the WGA welcomed the talks but said they would resist any industry effort to force screenwriters to accept a deal which they considered unsatisfactory.

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