The reason for the strike is very simple: those movies and TV episodes we're buying on DVD or online through places like iTMS? Directors, actors, and writers don't get a penny in compensation. Nothing. Nada. Zip. We've all seen how those media, which did not exist at the time of the last major strike in '88, have grown in just the last few years. The studios are calling the strike "irresponsible". You now understand this to be a code word for "we're too cheap and fucking greedy to pay people what they're worth." DVD and online sales are pure profit for studios. Which they want to keep all to themselves.
So expect this strike to last a while. Sayeth JMS, "In order to have any real impact, the strike will have to be at least as long as the '88 strike, which lasted six months." I see no reason he's wrong.
But I think the writers will get what they're demanding. They're organized and their guild has overwhelming support from its membership. (Also sayeth Joe, several months ago, is that they've never had a vote 90+% in favor of anything. Ever.) Thus, the actors and directors will take a similar deal. And that's what brings me to why I think the studios will still win: they will raise prices on DVDs and downloads, citing increased labor costs, since they'll then have to pay residuals to their creative talent. If you think those increases will just cover their costs, you're fucking bananas. They will absolutely use it as an excuse to tag consumers for more revenue. Why? Because they know that as a group, we won't object. We'll grumble, but we'll pay it.