Archive for September 28th, 2007

The Rise of Online Content

28th September 2007 by Maura McHugh

The LA Times has a very interesting article about now Hollywood studios are branching into creating online content, and establishing small digital houses to write and create this work. The web content is not being completed with writers, cast, or crew that are being paid Union rates, so this is causing tension between the studios and the Unions in the USA.

“The more it looks like television is migrating to the Internet, the more important it is for us to ensure that writers are covered under a writers guild contract,” said Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West. “We certainly don’t want to get left behind the way we were with cable television, reality TV and animation.”

Network executives are loath to further inflame the issue by discussing it publicly. Privately, however, several studio and network executives said they were not trying to circumvent the unions but instead attempting to adapt to a changing landscape in which entertainment plays out on multiple screens.

Many likened their situation to being in a vise grip, squeezed on one side by advertisers and fans demanding more online entertainment while pressured on the other side by guild officials who insist that ground rules be established first.

“It’s something that our viewers are demanding,” said one television executive, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. “We are doing a disservice to them by not providing it. We are going to provide it to them one way or the other.”