Memo to Hollywood: Get your labor deal done

I was reading how it looks like a Hollywood labor stoppage will be in the works. It looks like the two sides are going opposite directions. It could draw television shows to a halt of the writers union goes out. From what I have read, the writers union is setting the stage for the rest of the unions. If they go out, the rest will go out. If the writers sign a deal, there is a good chance the rest of the unions will sign a deal.

Both sides see that there is a lot at stake. The unions want to make sure they get paid for any new kinds of distribution of content. The studios want to make sure they get a better deal on residuals. Both sides are looking at the money that the other is currently getting and wants a better slice in the future. Both sides are far apart and it does not look like they are getting any closer. In this case the fall TV season might come to a grinding halt this November.

I would advise both sides that they need to avoid this at any cost. A strike right now would be a bad thing for both sides. It is worse that either side can imagine. The last strike was some 20 years go. To be honest, I do not remember all that much about the strike. I remember the strike killed the show Moonlighting and lots of jokes on Letterman about how they did not have any writers.

There is one huge difference between the last strike and now, the Internet. The amount of media that the average person can get outside of the studio system has gone way up. Right now the studios and television are still on the top of the heap. This could be an inflection point. It could be a point where people who have never thought about getting media from the internet start getting it from the internet.

If I was making a video podcast right now, I would be ramping up. I would be creating good content. I would be looking for ways to get my product in front of more and more people. If there is a strike and there stops being new television show, I would want to be right there.

The real danger is that people might get used to getting there media without the studio system. It might be a chance to go around the current sent of taste makers. This would be bad for the writers because there would be no collective bargaining. The podcasters who would go around the studios would go around the union too. There might even be some way people might get media that no one has thought of yet.

I am not saying that either side should fold for the other signing a new deal. I just think both sides should know what is at stake. I think it would be a mistake for both sides to not think about outside forces that are at play. Both the studios and the unions could come out as losers if they do not think about outside pressures. People out there have already declared that broadcast television will be dead in 10 years. It would not serve either side if television is replaced right now.


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