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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Will Writers Guild Strike Help Online Content Sites?

The Wall Street Journal says that sites like,,, and may be able to work with Writers Guild members during the strike. Journo Sarah McBride wonders if this strike could help digital media in the same way the 1980s strike helped cable TV.

From the piece:

    The companies may have trouble recruiting Writers Guild of America members, largely because of confusion over what writers may and may not do while on strike. Some writers believe strike rules preclude them from writing for anybody, even if it isn't studio content. But a spokesman for the guild said the rules don't prohibit members from writing for new media for companies that haven't signed agreements with the guild. "We encourage members, however, to consider trying to cover their new-media services by having the employer sign a made-for-new-media agreement," the spokesman said, "and we will continue signing such agreements even during [a strike]."

    Online video companies are hungry for more professional material than what typically arrives in over-the-transom videos. Looking ahead a few years, the future of online video could lie more in series of clips, much like episodes of television shows, rather than one-off clips. "Advertisers like buying episodic things because it's predictable," says [CEO Keith] Richman of Break, which is aimed at men ages 18 to 35.

    ...A number of sites stress their association with Hollywood bigwigs., created by actor Will Ferrell and writer-director Adam McKay, is already benefiting from the labor action, with several new skits spoofing the strike. Through their publicist, Messrs. Ferrell and McKay declined to comment on how the strike affects traffic or material on their site.

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