I confess that I don’t know a lot about the TV and movie business. There’s a general “pox on both your houses” vibe going around, but after some casual reading I came across this which basically made me a believer. The writers are asking for 8 cents per DVD, and some cut of the internet distribution profits. That seems reasonable, and even kind if humble once I learned more details about the feudal nature of the industry. From the link,
Last night I went on NBC.com, clicked on “The Office.” You can watch entire episodes of 10, 15 series. OK. You click on the office, what do you get? You get a commercial for Fidelity Investments. Then you watch the cold open, then you get a commercial for Target. They are monetizing these episodes already. OK?
Carlton Cuse was telling me “Lost” does not run a second network rerun. So writers on that show are not getting the typical nice check you usually get when working on a successful series. That goes right to the Internet. They’re making money on it. We’re not making money on those.
We must realize that that’s the kind of issue we cannot let stand. That’s the way my kids watch TV. They hear about a show, they look for it on the Internet. Soon, when computers and your TV are connected, that’s how we’re all going to watch. OK? Those residuals are going to go from what they are toward zero if we don’t make a stand now.
There’s a lot more, and it seems clear to me who to root for. If you want to read more on the issue, here’s some background on the negotiations and evidence that the strike will have ripple effects to advertisers. Lastly, there’s a blog run by WGA members that gives you their perspective.
To be honest, I hope the strike does serious damage to the established order of things. Any system where Firefly gets canceled and “Ugly Betty” gets greenlit is so ridiculously broken that it needs replacing anyhow.