Television writer and producer Chris Keyser is president of the Writers Guild of America.

Television writer and producer Chris Keyser is president of the Writers Guild of America. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / July 2, 2012 / July 3, 2012)

Screenwriting jobs and wages in Hollywood declined for a second straight year, reflecting the broader pullback in production by the major film studios, according to the Writers Guild of America West.

The WGA, which represents about 12,000 writers, reported that employment fell 8% for screenwriters in 2011, compared with a year earlier. Total earnings were down 12.6% from the prior year.

Over the last two years, 15% fewer writers worked in film, earning about 20% less in the aggregate.

Feature film residuals dropped 10%, led by dramatic declines in receipts writers collected from DVD and Blu-raydisc sales. Earnings from home entertainment fell 23.9% in 2011, compared with the prior year. Pay-TV payments were off about 5% compared with a record year in 2010.

Digital distribution by such online services as Netflix Inc.andAmazon.com was a bright spot for film. Fees paid to writers for new-media uses nearly tripled from 2010 to 2011, growing to $3.37 million.

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