|HOME||MEDIAVILLAGE.com||WOMEN ADVANCING||HOOKED UP||MEMBERSHIP INFO||MEMBER COMPANIES||MEDIA BUSINESS REPORT||ECONOMIC FORECASTS||RESEARCH|
Published: November 23, 2007 at 09:54 PM GMT
Last Updated: November 25, 2007 at 09:54 PM GMT
The ironic reality of the writers' strike is its irrelevancy. Why? Read on.
Fifty three percent of 300 media, advertising and entertainment executives believe writers should continue to "hold out for everything they want," with 47 percent voting for them to "pick up their pencils and get back to work." According to the poll conducted at www.jackmyers.com, a slight majority of a group that should be expected to be more sympathetic to the networks and studios express support for the Writers Guild of America.
This surprising result suggests underlying acknowledgement that digital assets represent an important and growing revenue stream for the industry and, although it is impossible to assess the long-term incremental value represented by digital, writers indeed deserve a slice of the pie. The challenge for networks and studios remains their inability to accurately determine the economic impact of digital distribution opportunities in the face of continuing network audience erosion and disruption of traditional revenue models. Writers remain adamant that billions are already being generated without significant loss of traditional revenues, and the self-incriminating words over the past few years of network CEOs support their claims.
Assumptions of digital profitability notwithstanding, negotiators representing the production community are hardening their stance as networks and studios complete their internal economic scenarios and conclude a long-lasting strike will not materially affect 2008 profitability, as reduced production costs offset revenue losses. In a November 7 conference call with analysts, News Corp. president Peter Chernin suggested "during fiscal 2008, a strike is probably a positive for us." In the longer term, an apocalyptic disruption of the Upfront selling season and fall 2008 programming schedule would have long-lasting impact.
Realistically, though, any long-lasting negative impact could be offset if a hard-core stance against the union results in greater profitability from digital business models. Ultimately, writers, directors and actors will receive a slice of the digital pie. The question is how much, what assets will be included, and how much risk will networks and studios be inclined to take on digital content development costs if potential profitability is diminished for those few programs that achieve success.
What is at stake is the historic willingness of studios and networks to invest massively in development costs for projects that never see the light of day. Currently. thousands of concepts go through an expensive and drawn out development season, only to be winnowed down to a few dozen pilots and then further reduced to a few produced series, and then even further narrowed to those that make the second and third season cut based on audience ratings.
In the post-strike digital world, thousands of concepts will be cheaply produced and scattered across the digital landscape, much of it by members of the unionized Hollywood community who are being disenfranchised by the established economic models. Broadband and mobile video websites will eagerly offer distribution for this content and ad sales networks such as Broadband Enterprises and Tremor Media will help fund it through advertiser support. A few will find their way to cable and broadcast series that compile the best of the web, and ultimately networks and studios will acquire development rights to the best, in a reversal of current windows. Studios and networks will increase their production of online content and significantly reduce their investment in script and pilot development. At the end of the strike, whenever that is, writers will need to become more entrepreneurial if they hope to benefit from digital income. I can't envision any scenario where writers get to simply sit and write and expect to benefit financially whether or not their scripts are ever developed. So perhaps they must fight the good fight now to protect what little future upside they have in any distribution model.
The ironic reality of the writers' strike is its irrelevancy. Digital media is disrupting the economic models of an industry whose models have been broken for years. Today, fewer than one network television series in twelve breaks through to profitability. This one program in twelve has to support the enormous operating overhead of those who risk capital to develop and produce the programs. It is a business of failure, not success. The Writers Guild of America wants a piece of that American Dream – the ability to fail time and time and time again, and ultimately have a profitable business. Networks and studios prefer to hold onto their right to fail upward for as long as they can. Writers are rewarded now for their failures; they want a bigger slice of the action in those rare instances they succeed. Whether the strike ends soon or continues into the new year, there's a new business model in town and whatever deal is brokered, writers will no longer be the beneficiaries of a model that pays for failure.
The bet now is that the two sides will find common ground in the next six weeks, maybe even during post-Thanksgiving negotiations, and reach an interim settlement. If talks fail, and the strike continues into mid-2008, write the epitaph for the current development model that funds the writing of hundreds of scripts each season. And for both sides of the strike issue, that's not such a terrible thing.
To register your vote for or against the strike, visit www.jackmyers.com.
Podcast: Jack Myers on "Between Worlds" with Mike Walsh
It’s not simply change that the media and advertising industry is going through, but a metamorphosis that could profoundly alter the industry’s landscape in the coming years, according to media ecologist Jack Myers. In the podcast below, Myers sits down with futurist and author Mike Walsh to discuss the future of media, the rise of emotion tech, and his upcoming book, The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century.
Virtual Reality is Coming Directly to Your Living Room
This week, on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live: Tiffany Winter discusses some big moves for content players in the world of virtual reality.
Adblockalypse and More: Top 10 Takeaways from Advertising Week 2015
Another year, another Advertising Week, that seminal time when the industry descends upon Times Square to mingle, make connections and learn a little. Being relatively new to it, we had a lot to learn. For example, bring an external charger since outlets are few and far between. Also, do not purchase an iced coffee before going into the Times Center’s beverage-free main stage (or at least be stealthy about it). Below we share our Top 10 observations from Advertising Week 2015.
A Smart Way to Out-Block Ad Blocking
Enough was enough for the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week over the matter of ad blocking among Internet sites. They actually disrupted their own contribution to Advertising Week, attended by more than 1,300 people, to bring this matter to, in IAB's instance, a long-overdue head.
Access Confidential’s New Business Know-How
Whether you’re pitching new business or retaining current business, Lisa Colantuono’s tips below offer an easy-to-follow guide applicable for both agencies and media companies alike.
An Inside Tip for Higher Organic Reach on Facebook
If a company posts on Facebook without paid media, does anyone ever see it? More and more, we are finding that less and less people do. While this fact remains true, our analysts have discovered an upside to increasing organic reach. Unfortunately, you still need to buy Facebook media but it appears that Facebook is following Larry Page’s mantra of “Always deliver more than expected.”
Connecting with Mom: How YouTube Helps in Moments of Need
“YouTube reaches not only more 18-34 and but also 25-44 year-old females than any cable network in the U.S. on both desktop and mobile” according to an analysis Google had commissioned from Nielsen in February 2015. This finding added to our ongoing hunch that YouTube has become a destination for females out beyond just Millennials. As such, we had thought, “YouTube is becoming a core part of many moms’ daily routines and is positively impacting their lives.” So we decided to dig a little deeper and set out on a year-long research program to understand the role YouTube plays in the ever-evolving life of the modern mom. In this post, I will try to give you the topline.
Not Your Father’s Tune-In -- Part 4
This continues our multi-part series about the new tune-in advertising, whose rating effects are now generally being measured to varying degrees by all players, using Nielsen itself in some cases, and especially using set top box data where the statistical significance of the findings leads to greater confidence in acting on the results.
2015 –The Last Big Year for Fossil Fuel Use!
2015 will turn out to be the peak year of fossil fuel use. By 2020 it will be clear that the decline in consumption of fossil fuels began this year. It therefore will be the first year of flat to down fossil fuel emissions. This is a very significant event: The beginning of the end of the fossil fuel energy era.
You Can Skip This Ad in 5, 4, 3 …
How pathetic that we create a product we know to be so loathsome that if people could avoid it, they would. But, if we can just hold them hostage for the minimum amount of time for which a client can be convinced to pay, we consider our jobs done, and sadly, done well. And, while we spend our days convincing clients to spend money on a product no one much wants, we spend our nights avoiding that very same product.
Katy Loria of Screenvision on Changing Careers, Working Moms and More
Katy Loria, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer at Screenvision, made a huge career transition from television and digital at Viacom in Chicago to cinema advertising at Screenvision in New York. She says that “after so many years at Viacom, which was a wonderful place to work, I wanted a change of pace. I went from big company to small company, from public company to private company and from consumer facing brand to non-consumer facing. For me it was a new and different challenge.”
The Beverly Billionaires, Or How to Make Podcasts Profitable
Take a good look at the photo above. Through the 1970's those four faces drove about a billion dollars to CBS and producer Mark Goodson. They were the original stars of “The Match Game.” From 1973-1982 they dominated daytime TV ratings and profits. Same scenery year to year. Incredibly small prizes. Absolutely no challenging Q&As.
Will the “Cable” Bundle Die? Or Has It Just Splintered?
Well, sure. It’ll die. And be reborn. Just not quite like you might imagine. So we’ve got Dr. John Malone’s promised 500 channels and we only watch 17 or so regularly. We watch another dozen or so when something -- often social-network activity -- drives us to do so. “Everyone” (whoever that is) complains about paying for all those channels everyone doesn’t watch.
Is TV's Big Food Gravy Train Being Derailed?
Big Food has a bellyache, and it's giving Madison Avenue a migraine. The problem for the nation's packaged-food giants is that consumer tastes are changing faster than they seem to be capable of keeping up with.
Has the 2015-16 Television Season Begun? You Could Fool Me.
The opening weeks of the 2015-16 television season are turning out to be a strange time for everyone. Not a single new show has generated any palpable excitement, including those that are early “successes,” including NBC’s “Blindspot” (pictured above), Fox’s “Rosewood,” CBS’ “Limitless” (pictured below) and ABC’s “Quantico.” Meanwhile, the traditional impact of opening night/next day ratings reports finally has been neutralized, allowing under-performing programs (of which there are many) to linger longer than ever before and slowly get their numbers up via DVR and VOD.