Hollywood screenwriters and studio executives ended a second day of contract talks on Wednesday with the two sides far apart on major issues but planning to resume negotiations next week.
Escalating a public relations battle, leaders of the Writers Guild of America detailed proposals for a greater share of Internet revenues in a briefing for reporters after talks adjourned for the day.
The guild disputed studio claims that union demands would stifle growth at a time of rising production costs, tighter profit margins, growing piracy and competition from the Web.
Strike concerns are running high in Hollywood, prompting some studios to stockpile scripts and speed up production on some projects as a precaution. The current labor pact covering the union's 12,000 members expires on October 31.
Guild leaders showed materials they said entertainment companies had presented to Wall Street analysts and investors painting a picture of rising revenues and opportunities they expect as a result of new digital distribution outlets.
To the extent that they say they don't have a business model, they do, and they're pitching it to Wall Street, said guild executive Chuck Slocum.
He said those companies downplayed business forecasts in labor talks, adding, In negotiations, the language they're using is that it (the Internet) is a threat.
The writers rejected a studio proposal to defer negotiations on major issues while conducting a three-year study of how the Internet has altered entertainment business models.
The study appears to be more of a stall, said John Bowman, chairman of the guild negotiating committee.
Studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, issued a statement calling the WGA's rejection of a study short-sighted and self-destructive.
The outcome of talks on a new three-year deal will shape producers' separate labor negotiations with actors and directors, whose contracts run out next summer.
Hollywood screenwriters last walked off the job in 1988 in a 22-day strike that delayed the fall TV season and cost the industry a reported $500 million.
As in the past, writers have made a top priority of seeking higher residuals -- bonus payments they earn as their work on TV shows and movies enters secondary markets like broadcast syndication, cable TV reruns, overseas distribution and DVDs.
The guild is pushing hard to expand residuals for TV and film content that is reused on the Internet and other digital platforms, like cell phones and iPods.
Studios and TV networks would like to overhaul the system, withholding residuals payments until they recoup costs for development, production, distribution and marketing.