Modest Proposal: Reuse... for Advertisers!

This Modest Proposal was submitted by Andy Reaser. -JA

Last week, the studios proposed a residual fee of $250 for the unlimited
reuse of our content online for one year. Let's just assume for a moment
that such a low fee is fair. If that's really all the studios should pay to
reuse our content, then I think we should encourage advertisers to demand
something similar: $250 for the unlimited reuse of a time slot.

Under the current system, when an advertiser, Budweiser say, buys a
timeslot, they only get to play their expensive commercial ONE TIME. That
doesn't seem fair, does it? Wouldn't it make more sense for Budweiser to buy
a thirty second slot during Sunday night primetime, and then for a fee of
$250 get to use that timeslot over and over for the rest of the year?

I know such an arrangement would be untraditional. It would cripple the
studio's economic structure, much like my personal economic structure would
collapse if we accept a figure like $250 and reruns move exclusively to the

But the loss of BILLIONS shouldn't matter much to the networks after they
factor in the tens of MILLIONS they'll save from a lowball contract with the

If I were an advertiser, I'd see the current negotiation as the opportunity
of a lifetime. But be warned, ad buyers. The studios aren't going to like
the sound of your New Economic Proposal at first. They might balk and
complain like a bunch of writers. They might even accuse you of being
draconian (a word they learned from us this summer). Still, I urge you to
push ahead. If the studios can bust the Writers Guild, you can bust the
studio alliance.


Captain Obvious said...

Brilliant psychology lesson here, lol...

Anonymous said...

You may want to re-think your logic and re-read your own post there. You're logic is flawed beyond belife.

This has gone on long enough. Too many people are being too greedy. What both sides need to do is make a written agreement to continue work on current shows while discussing the final decisions with a formal agreement that the contract negotiations can be revised at least once a year.

The ammount of money being lost during this hole thing will never be made back no matter what the raise is to some of the "elder" writers that won't be living another 30 or 40 yearss.

Both sides need to understand that the current model with streeming and downloads is going to drasticly change over the next decade due to technology enchancements and no matter what the agreement they come to now, this issue will have to be re-visited many many more times over the next 20-30 years.

TJWriter said...

But what is important, csin, is that what happens here sets important precedents for what happens when these issues are revisited.

It needs to be done right the first time. I'm all for letting the networks suffer and the viewers get mad until the writers get what they deserve. Online content is only going to increase, so it's not fair that all parties should not be compensated.

What I really enjoy is all the comments that come in saying that the writers should just give in so TV can come back. Really? REALLY? How about you go bug the studios to give in so writers can get back to writing? The guy making the ginormous salary isn't worried about feeding the family, much unlike the average writer.

I'm crossing the fingers and toes that writers may have a positive and fair outcome in this thing.

Karen said...

I could not agree more tjwriter! Don't get me wrong, I want television to come back too...I'm addicted to Heroes and Pushing Daisies just like the rest of the free world. Exaggeration?...Okay that's fair, but it's not far off :-) However, I don't want anyone to sell their soul so I can find out if Chuck and Ned actually do end up together and touching.

It's not the writer's greed fueling this strike. It's the greed of the network executive big wig's who, like you said, aren't concerned with how he or she is going to feed their family or buy their kid's Christmas. The simple fact is, the studios have the ability to end this strike and they refuse to do so by not giving the writer's what should have been rightfully their's in the first place.

David Grenier said...

I also propose that if I paid to see a film in the theater, I should be able to download it for free without ads. After all, I paid for it once.

Tell you what, the American Public will pay the AMPTP $250 a year for the privilege of reusing all of their content.

Caitlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BTL Guy said...

As a guy who does not think the writers should "just cave" and take a crap deal, I would also love to see some of the rhetoric get tossed out on both sides.

"The studios have the power to end this" is a popular refrain on this site. It is partially true, yes. But an impartial observer would note that their shareholders don't want the studios to "just cave" either.

What's "fair," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. That's what both sides are currently negotiating about. I'm cautiously optimistic as I read that negotiations are proceeding well at the moment.

But before repeating the rote phrase that the studios could end this, keep in mind that a far truer statement is that "the writers have the power to end this."

WGA doesn't have to cave to come back to work. Writers can continue negotiating while also working. You could walk out again if negotiations stalled.

I don't expect the writers to get back to work until a deal is ratified. Which is their right.

But blaming your walkout on the studios' greed is a half-truth at best. The walkout is a response to the studio greed, but the Writers walked; they were not locked out.

JimBob said...

Incidentally, the $250 figure for a year's streaming -- that's after six weeks for free. If they want to stop streaming at the end of six weeks (which is a lifetime on the internet), they owe nothing, not even the $250.

Ayem Petey Peetrole said...


As csin made clear -- your logic is flawed beyond belife.

The ammount of money lost during this hole thing ... the "elder" writers will be dead, so f*** 'em.

The model will drasticly change.

And, how can you possibly think that advertisers only paying $250 dollars a year for putting their ads anywhere they want is equivalent to companies paying writers $250 a year for unlimited reruns of an episode? Can you see it's obviously not the same thing? Jeez!