This is something that’s been going on for the past couple of weeks shortly after takes between the Writers Guild of America and the major networks over disputes over payments to writers over the ways that their products are being distributed. Going back to when VHS tapes were first released, writers took a cut to help with the market. Now, with their works being distributed not only over television, but through DVD, online streams, mini-sodes and more, they want to be paid for this.
Now, this is where I have a problem, there’s a whole lot of people saying one thing and another thing is probably taking place, largely around the internet viewings. Companies such as Viacom, Warner Brothers and so on have been telling their investors that these are prime markets, with hundreds of millions of dollars of potential for ad revenue. However, the writers have been told that this is too new of a market, that they can’t place a cost on what they’re earning. It’s frustrating to read, and the point comes over that the larger corperations are essentially trying to maximize their profits at the expense of the writers. I’m inclined to agree with the writers – the internet is a huge market, and I believe that they really deserve a bigger share of what’s rightfully theirs.
The pressure will be coming soon as television shows shut down. A bunch of shows have been caught with only a couple episodes, while others have sort of planned for this sort of thing. It’ll affect not only the media networks with people who want their entertainment back, but also the writers, who’ll probably be easier to push towards a deal that’s unfavorable to them. The writers do have the public on their side – a recent poll put the public as overwhelmingly supporting their cause – 66%.
It’ll be interesting to see how this affects not only the shows, which is bound to hurt networks as re-runs become more frequent, but also how it’ll affect the entire playing field.