Links: Viacom On Already!


  • Yep, the conglomerates just don't know what the digital future will hold. Will there be more $500 million deals like this pact between Viacom and Microsoft in the future? Who knows?!

  • Andrew Baron, producer of the popular video blog Rocketboom, expalins Eight Reasons the TV Studios Will Die. Allow me to propose one way NOT to die: Make a fair deal with the creators of your content so you can work TOGETHER to preserve and grow your business. Seems simple enough.

  • Poll: More TV viewers turning to the web.


  • Handel: Let's cross our fingers that the DGA has the power to get everyone back to work.

  • Robert Elisberg rockin' the house again on HuffPo.
    "...If corporations only have to pay $250 for residuals on the Internet as opposed to $20,000 on TV -- where do you think all reruns will eventually be shown?

    It gets worse. The corporations don't want original Internet content covered for the WGA. Where do you think the first-run "broadcast" of a series will be? After streaming once on the Internet, a company can simply "re-air" it on network TV. It's the same screen. The only difference is that General Electric-Sony-TimeWarner-Fox won't have had to pay more than a pittance for the material.

    If you don't think this would happen, you haven't been watching the AMPTP offering zero and walking away from the table...
  • Roger Ebert: Thumbs down on studio greed.


  • WGA vs AMPTP at Home

  • Cantinero sings his strike ballad "No Apologies" in Times Square. Yes, the Naked Cowboy inserts himself in the shot.

  • Christmas Carols!
    - From the AMPTP Children's Choir of Truth
    - From Peter Rader


    The One True b!X said...

    "If corporations only have to pay $250 for residuals on the Internet as opposed to $20,000 on TV -- where do you think all reruns will eventually be shown?"

    True that. Why more people haven't been making this point since the offer escapes me.

    mark said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Clever Fake Name said...

    I'm just a little disappointed that a troll hasn't commented yet. Come on guys, you're slipping. Here let me get you started. The WGA is responsible for the national budget deficit, global warming and cancer. Run with it.

    smeta said...

    Why are you moderating comments now? It's very restricting. Is this just a way to filter out all the anti-WGA comments that started popping up. I know it's annoying, but do you really think comment moderation will hurt the people who are trying to have legitimate conversatons.

    Captain Obvious said...

    Yeah well, it seems it should go without saying. Only the misinformed and chromosomally misaligned should need it to be explicitly stated. Fortunately we have a bit of both to preach to here at United Hollywood™.

    Tetsuo Lumiere said...

    Support in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    My name Tetsuo Lumiere. I’m from Argentina.
    I am a writer and director.
    I want to express my support to you fight to have a fair pay for your work.
    You might ask why this guy from Argentine decides to support. Your fight is our fight.
    Screenwriters in Argentina and all over the world also want a more fair compensation for our work. And everything that you made in the US, will be taken as an unavoidable reference for the writers and producers, in order to negotiate in the future for better payments.
    Wastewater from the sale of DVDs and downloads/Streaming from the Internet.

    Thank you for reading my letter.

    I made a video showing my support
    Link: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=75vmGX1qpOA

    Tetsuo Lumiere

    United Hollywood said...

    We're moderating comments now because we are getting legitimately spammed. Dissenting opinions are not being deleted.

    makomk said...

    What exactly is that $500 million, anyway? The Viacom-Microsoft deal appears to be complicated, and the details aren't exactly public.

    However, it looks like Microsoft gets to provide advertising for all the Viacom websites (including MTV.com and possibly Neopets), and is also buying lots of expensive advertising itself. In addition, Microsoft gets to license a large chunk of their TV shows and films for use on Xbox Live and MSN.

    That's quite a lot of stuff; I can well believe it's worth $100 million. Not sure how much the TV-related business is worth. I suspect the sort of streaming video that WGA members are involved in makes up a fairly small portion of the value.

    (Of course, figuring out what portion exactly is hard. I bet some of the streaming video that uses WGA writers is on the same websites as non-WGA-supplied and non-video content, so divvying up the ad revenue would probably be non-trivial.)

    TidalCreek said...

    It confounds me that all of the creative writers who reportedly earn more than surgeons (according to the AMPTP) have not pooled their money and connections together and created their own production/broadcast company to realize Internet opportunities. Why continue to help the big companies get bigger when their talents could be used to help themselves in a much better way?

    Geo Rule said...

    "Which day?"

    "May 2".


    Susan K said...

    I like the analysis links in this post. I read something last night that analyzes the corporate-conglomerate network mindset in a slightly different way-- from the position of TV News Journalism.

    John Hockenberry, former NPR newsguy, then NBC Dateline, and now MIT guy, writes an essay about his experience doing news at NBC. You Don't Understand Our Audience. It includes a Zucker anecdote in there.

    The article's not bang-on on topic (this is TeeVee news and journalism, after all), but then again it IS on topic for these reasons:

    It's about a corporate-conglomerate that owns a broadcast company. Stories of how that works (or doesn't).

    It's about how said corporate-conglomerate fundamental misunderstandings of The Net. And technical changes (cough TiVo Cough) that are extolled only as "cool gadgets" versus a sea change in the way that people access their media. (Hockenberry underplays the why part there, but he's writing in the MIT Technology Review, so it's like, well, Duh for this audience.)

    Oh, and there's some good storytelling there, too. In a newsy, personal essay kinda way.

    ChuckT said...

    clever fake name, so you're trolling for trolls? How ironic (and sad).

    FoodMinusaur said...

    My Friends over at RiDinkyDonk also made a video in support of the WGA strike. It is very funny. It features Phil LaMarr (from MADtv & Family Guy) and Eddie Pepitone (from Last Comic Standing & The Sarah Silverman Program).

    The Elf Strike.
    Santa's cookie revenue has increased ten-fold, while the elves are still receiving only 2 cookies. Support the cause! Don't give Santa anymore cookies until the elves are treated with respect!

    Best of Luck,
    The FoodMinusaur

    BTL Guy said...

    Could we get a front page statement about the moderating of comments?

    What was the "legitimate spam?" Was it Viagra ads or was it someone posting "Verrone's a jerk" over and over or was it something else?

    What are the parameters for deleting or approving a comment?

    I'm sure you can understand that this change could be misinterpreted and obviously makes those of us who have legitimate dissenting opinions (as well as those who care about freedom of speech) a bit apprehensive.

    A quick note about the change would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    ryan said...

    I think it's pretty obvious why they are moderating comments now. There have suddenly been so many anti-WGA commens that they want more control over what's being said. They are trying to stop all the anti-WGA comments before they're even posted.

    j.d. said...

    Comment moderation? Jeez. How much lower can you get. This feels like another "big brother" move to me. The spam was probably some comments attacking the WGA or something like that. I don't see what other kind of spam would want to target this site.

    bluestocking said...

    It's amazing how many anti-moderating comments are here to be read. You'd almost think dissenting opinions were allowed. Except they can't be, because the people who say they don't like moderating comments claim (or imply, depending) that it's to stifle dissent before it can even be expressed.

    And yet it *is* being expressed. Oooh, my head hurts.

    Face it. The fact that your negative comment is here at all tells you something, doesn't it? Why don't you acknowledge THAT?

    Here's what I like about moderation: it'll give a higher possibility that in the future, some of the comments might actually relate to the post in question. As opposed to reading a post, going to see what people have to say about it, and having to wade through the first eight spammers who leaped on board the moment something went up. I prefer a discussion.

    Smeta asks, "Do you really think comment moderation will hurt the people who are trying to have legimate conversations?" No, I think it will help them. A few days ago I read a comment on Nikki Finke's blog in which someone said she'd rather discuss there because the comments at UH "are a madhouse."

    And we all know why. That person was forced out of here by the trolls, so hurray for your victory, guys. Feel proud!

    Astroturfing aside -- even if every troll or spammer here were a legit troll or spammer, this is a thoroughly traditional way of handling Internet discussion. It's why people fled Usenet in droves and opened up private discussion lists that could be moderated. Because trolls enter, carpetbomb discussions, and when someone asks them to stop they say, "Me? I'm not a troll! I have a right to talk! Attica! Attica!"

    Finally the people who just want to have a discussion are forced out. I've seen it over and over and over again.

    I'm not sure why writers have to be forced out of a writer-created, writer-centric blog so that trolls can romp freely through the halls. Let them buy troll dot com and do it there.

    As for dissent -- it sure still seems to be here. Unless I imagined those comments I'm replying to. Ryan, your comment isn't there. I never read it. j.d., it's a good thing "big brother" deleted your comment. BTL Guy, I'm glad you're still here -- and as you note, you're still here. So I'm not sure what you're worried about.

    intrigued said...

    As far as the moderation goes...

    I BELIEVE IT WAS TO STOP SPAMMING. Although I am neutral in this strike, most of my comments have been critical of the WGA's strategy and yet my comments are still coming through, so I DO NOT BELIEVE they are censoring comments critical of the WGA.

    However, I must say the delay in the postings hitting the board really prevent meaningful real-time back-and-forth conversations that I have enjoyed partaking in.

    Moderators, please find away to quickly control the spamming problem so we can get back to real-time comment postings!!!

    Trey said...

    I can verify that there was a megadose of spamming yesterday -

    Many of the posts were gibberish, though one consisted of "buy propecia" repeated dozens of times. :)

    There was an entire page of that stuff - I just happened to see it before it was deleted, I guess.

    Sure, comment moderation is a bit of a pain, but I guess it's a necessary evil, at least in the short term. Otherwise we'd be scrolling through pages of nonsense just to find the legitimate comments, dissenting or otherwise.

    BTL Guy said...

    "Attica! Attica!!" That was a good line... :)

    Look, as I've said here and on other posts, I am thankful for UH allowing dissenting opinion and I know that they don't have to.

    Moderating of comments to prevent spam, though potentially necessary, could start us down a slippery slope that could eventually lead to editorial non-postings, which is why I asked for some clarification.

    I think a posting of "hey, this happened; these are the steps we're taking; we don't like it either; bear with us" would help clear the air.

    And, believe me, I know UH has every right to moderate, delete, or censor anything they want on their own site.

    I'm grateful that they don't.

    In the meantime, I'm sure any suggestions on how to filter the spam automatically would probably be appreciated, because I don't think UH wants to moderate and no regular visitor to the board likes the delays in comment posting that result.

    angry-now-violent said...

    they have edited and decided not to post my comments. The slope is slippery and pointed towards hell.

    United Hollywood said...


    Call me crazy, but I feel no particular obligation to allow threats of physical violence to remain posted in our comments.

    Captain Obvious said...

    Youse crazy, Alfalfa, but it's otay...

    I'm shocked and awed that the FCC would be trying to loosen consolidation rules. What convenient timing! Mission accomplished, clearly.

    Brandon said...

    First, I don't think they're unfairly moderating this blog. If they were, it seems to me that ALOT of posts that currently exist here would not.

    Secondly, I fear the both the WGA and the AMPTP looking at the internet as the holy grail. I may be wrong, but I'm willing to bet that most of the people who visit this blog don't watch more than a few varied clips of shows and other random things on the net. I doubt that most people here depend on the net for their regular viewing pleasure. It's an option of convenience. What I can feasibly see happening in the future is the networks and studios utilizing broadband to offer set top boxes the ability to deliver shows on demand after a certain date and time for first-run shows and and in a library format for archival episodes. Those shows will be delivered from their studio owned server farms wherein which they will be able to log and register each request for a show. And, yes, I am all for the writers getting percentage each time one of those shows (which will likely be flanked with ads) is requested, but I would put that on par with the DVD deal where you get paid for each unit requested. Right now, with media spread out and in the hands of so many people and being used and delivered without the studios knowledge, its incredibly hard to keep track of that. The amount of money the studios are going to have to pay just to maintain the security of content is going to be phenomenal (but its in both the writers and studios best interest for them to do that). No one makes money off content sharing.

    In any event, that is still a niche market, because there are still going to be millions of homes that will not have the means or resources to reasonably utilize a streamed content option and will continue to enjoy tv in the way they do today.