These ad buyers are the large corporations (like Proctor & Gamble, Johson & Johnson, etc.) who advertise on TV and pay the networks' bills.
Our WGA crew, lead by Matthew Weiner, showrunner of "Mad Men," laid out our position to the advertisers -- who for some reason might not be getting entirely accurate forecasts from their corporate customers like CBS.
The event was a success. The coalition of media buyers agreed that our demands are reasonable and that it was "irresponsible on the part of the networks not to settle this dispute immediately."
Our hope is to enlist advertisers as our allies -- settling the strike is in their interest as well as ours. They agreed to put pressure on the conglomerates to do the only thing that will end the strike: come back to the table and negotiate a fair deal.
Jack Myers reported in his article "Advertisers and Agencies Meet with Writers as Long Strike Seems Pre-Ordained" about the meetings, and quotes Sarah Fay, CEO of Carat U.S. and Isobar:
"The strike is a huge issue for advertisers. It seems like the networks are intent on burning their own house. And ours! Not only that, but it also appears that the industry press, and of course the news channels, won't cover the writers' side fairly because of politics. They [The Writers] are now talking to people like me because they want us to know how dire the situation is."Myers goes on to discuss deals that Writers are making directly with advertisers as they migrate away from the studios and networks, and to the internet.
In the interim, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane has contracted with Google to develop a series of sponsored five-minute mini-programs. Rather than residuals, McFarlane will retain 50 percent ownership of the copyright. Other WGA members are forming ventures to take their work directly to the internet, allowing them to deal directly with advertisers.
The media buyers get it. The public gets it. The congloms appear to be the only ones who don't understand -- their determination to keep internet revenues all to themselves is damaging their own businesses, and even the rosiest predictions about ad revenue are starting to be questioned.
Sooner or later, Wall Street is going to get involved -- advertisers shareholders, media conglomerate shareholders. Burning down the house -- everyone's house -- for the sake of corporate greed isn't going to fly.
The AMPTP needs to come back to the table and negotiate in good faith. And we're not the only ones telling them to do it.