In case you lived under a rock, a strike is imminent in Hollywood. It's a dispute over higher home video residuals between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
"One rule, in particular, caught my interest. It says; “The Rules prohibit writing services performed for a struck company in connection with new programming intended for initial viewing on non-traditional media (such as the Internet and cellular telephones), and the option or sale of literary material for that purpose.” Basically, no writing for websites owned by big media companies. No rules against online ventures that you start yourselves or that are owned by someone or something independent of the companies against which you’re striking.
Reuters makes a very interesting point concerning all of this.
“The last time the Writers Guild of America went on strike, restless viewers turned to cable, sending the category into a growth spurt that continues to this day. With a writers strike set to be announced Friday, the question looming over digital Hollywood is: Can the Web become the cable of 2007?”
To those of you in the Writers Guild; whether or not I agree with the reason you’re striking, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you consider creating content for the web. And if you do, I hope you’ll realize that you don’t need the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to get that content onto the Internet. Remove the slow, old, awkward, paranoid middle man. This is a great opportunity to change your distribution system. If all the content you created went straight to the web, you’d save us consumers a lot of time and money."
This could be a watershed moment, indeed. Digital Entertainment is only as good as the TV shows we watch online, the latest fall with your dirtbike from the roof and some diamonds in the rough. Nobody has really invented the sitcom advertising pod for the Web yet, the perfect length and content structure. I hope we'll never fixate on another formua like the :30 second spot but innovative ideas for content are way overdue. And a shift in the power from publisher to creator.