Did anyone read Variety today (Tuesday 10/30/07) with an interview with NBC Universal topper Jeff Zucker? He's explaining why he decided to disassociate from iTunes and help launch Hulu.com. There's a great quote that applies to our contract negotiations:
"Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content, and made a lot of money," Zucker said. "They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware or allow us to adjust pricing."
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Writers, directors, and actors all want to share in the "millions of dollars" the AMPTP makes "off the back of our content". Jeff Zucker's right. It isn't fair or just or good business to allow yourself to be cut out of the profit stream. Since writers are going first in this contract-negotiation discussion, we hope Jeff is standing up in those AMPTP meetings and defending our right to enjoy the fruits of our labors, just as he wants to.
One more thing: given the AMPTP's claim that the internet is only for "promotional" use, again, Jeff states the obvious: "Zucker argued that the 50 million streams of TV shows that had been accessed on NBC.com during the month of October prove there is a demand for traditional TV series on the Web. 'It's extraordinary,' he said of NBC.com. 'It's like a small cable channel in our universe that is becoming very successful.'"
With all due respect, I think we should make Jeff an honorary member of the WGA and have him speak on our behalf when the AMPTP and WGA negotiating committees meet today. He articulated our position on this issue so well.