Can Steve Jobs help end the Hollywood writers’ strike?

“As picketing continues outside studio gates, everyone from talent agents to George Clooney has been mentioned or tried their hand at mediating between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and executives of the TV networks and film production companies. But here’s a name that hasn’t crossed too many minds: Steve Jobs, Apple’s bearded, music-loving chief executive officer,” Ron Grover reports for BusinessWeek.

“Consider this scenario: On Jan. 15, as the writers’ walkout drags into its eighth week, Jobs will take the stage for a keynote at his annual Macworld conference. He’s expected to announce that at least two—and possibly as many as five—studios have signed up to offer their movies for download to Apple’s video iPod and Apple TV products. That will no doubt generate big headlines—everything Jobs announces at Macworld does—and could make the notion of downloading movies from the Web a hot topic after years of false starts,” Grover reports.

“In doing so, Jobs could also put a Hollywood-style klieg light on the major issue separating the writers and movie moguls: how to cut in the unions for a share of the revenue from a new market that the studios have insisted isn’t yet big enough to share,” Grover reports. “‘It could validate everything that we’ve been saying,’ says WGA Assistant Executive Director Charles Slocum. ‘If he also announces that it will be in high-definition and you can order from the TV, it will mean the creation of a whole new market.'”

“During the short-lived negotiations this December before the writers hit the picket lines, the studios offered the same 1.2% for TV shows that are streamed on the Net, though not until after they have already been online for six weeks at a fixed rate of $250,” Grover reports. “The big thing that has kept the two sides from coming together is that studio executives insist there’s no market as yet for new media and they don’t want to get caught up in making expansive deals with the unions until there is one. Indeed, in their first go-round, the studios suggested they conduct a three-year study to determine the size of the market.”

Full article here.

The studios’ are full of it. Who cares what the size of the market is today? The percentage is all that matters. If you make a buck or a billion bucks, how much is the writers’ work worth? Figure out the percentage. The bigger the market grows, they more you all make. This has nothing to do with how big the market is, what size it will be sometime in the future, three-year ruses, and blah, blah, blah. It’s all about the percentage.


  1. First of all, why should writers or actors or anyone else EXCEPT the person, persons, or entity that owns a copyright work continued to be paid for its use?

    Writers are no different than anyone else. If I own a studio, and I pay you to do a job, i.e. write a script, you’ve been paid. Thank you. Get out.

    You don’t see anyone else whining when their work gets used again. I wrote software over a decade ago in banks that is still in us today, and has been repurposed many times. It’s what they paid me to do. Just because they turned around and used it for something else doesn’t mean I should get a royalty check.

    I don’t personally care if they eve come off strike. This is great!

    Hire some freaking new writers. Give new creative minds a chance. This striking crop of jokes is as bad as a Letterman or Leno routine. No one really wants to see it, we’d just like to see the guests make fools of themselves.

    Lumping Steve Jobs into this circus is just silly.

  2. Geez, TheloniousMac’s arrogant rant besmirches both the names he has stolen, Monk’s and Apple’s. Mr. Mac needs a new logic board.

    And MDN, howzabout knocking off those wretched pop-up ads which sneak by Safari’s blocker? This site is the only one in the Mac community that gives me those damned things. This site has become a virus.

  3. The market has a way of correcting itself. If the writers feel like they are not getting the proper compensation for their labor, they should find a different way to sell their work. Perhaps they should produce “TV” shows without a studio and sell them directly to the consumer via iTunes. If it catches on, the studios will capitulate.

  4. theloniousMac, Writers are no different than anyone else. If I own a studio, and I pay you to do a job, i.e. write a script, you’ve been paid. Thank you. Get out. Amen, brother thelonious.

    Unions are the great leveler. Everyone sinks to the bottom level.
    In the 1800’s unions were needed, now there are labor laws.
    The biggest unions are in government. Jobs for life, no matter how little you produce – Oh! that’s right, government produces nothing – except taxes. The best companies have no unions, or onions for that matter!

  5. What’s not mentioned in the MDN info (and even the Busness Week article) is that you could argue that Jobs is techincally under action by the WGA, being as he is Disney’s largest shareholder. Chew on that.

  6. This is Hollywood’s opportunity to try to get me back into watching TV.

    Hire all new writers and start over. The dialog I see on most TV shows is sooooo bad, it’s an insult to my intelligence to think I would be entertained by it.

    TV commercials are even worse. Like, I’m going to buy insurance from a company that thinks a talking gecko will appeal to me. It may be cute & all, but they’re trying to sell insurance for crying out loud.

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