Friday, December 14, 2007

Striking WGA writers to "move online"?

I was just reading this article from The Financial Times, which basically insinuates that the strike could push all the writers to work directly with internet based entertainment companies or start up their own online based projects, hindering the future of the entertainment industry. Granted, The Financial Times isn't saying this, Patric Verrone, president of the WGA West, is saying this... and he's just saying it's possible. They even mention Will Ferrell's comedy site,, as an example.

It's an interesting scenario and saying something like this is more just a tactic to scare the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) into hurrying up and ending the strike, but... is this really a viable option for writers? I just don't think they could make as much money, or get as big an audience, if they were strictly in online. In fact, if I remember correctly, outside of "The Landlord", has had a rough time mainting traffic and it's backed by A-List, Hollywood heavyweights. That's also not to mention that I don't see too much advertising on that site, so I wouldn't be surprised if loses money and it's just a vehicle to throw out ideas, get ideas and find new talent. Now, I'm not saying that because I'm on the side of the AMPTP and think that people are losing money in online and it's all "promotional", I'm definitely not. I'm saying that whether or not these online entertainment sites are making money, there's no question that online initiatives are dwarfed by how much is being made through traditional outlets. Long and short, I really don't think, relatively, that media conglomerates are making much money in online. If entertainment IS to make money online, there's going to need to be some huge, fundamental changes in how the industry works and I do think it's coming.

So, what are these fundamental changes? I don't know (I have some ideas), but I do think we're on the verge of a massive change in how we view movies, tv and entertainment. This strike won't flip this bad boy around overnight, but it may just be the catalyst we need to make some changes and changes can only be good. If they can figure out easier ways to make money through online and alternate distribution methods, the floodgates will burst with independent films and projects. So, if you're a writer, filmmaker or doing anything in indie film and you're "on the outside - looking in" on issues like the strike... We need to let these guys duke it out, it may just start the wave of change we need to create new, better forms of distribution.

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