Both Hollywood/TV Writers and Media Owners Need to Get a Clue
A number of people have sent me angry e-mails decrying what they term to be an overly unsympathetic stance re the Hollywood/TV writers who are now on strike. One e-mailer even called me "a running dog for the networks."
Let me be clear: I'm a (non-union) writer by trade and so I'm naturally pro-writer. I frankly don't think much of the professionalized, unionized class of writers who churn out the lowest-common denominator material that passes for entertainment on television, but that doesn't mean that I'm any more sympathetic towards the media owners who employ them. Media owners, who've historically squeezed creative types since the dawn of time, are the lowest of the low, and they deserve every ounce of pain that a sustained writers strike will rain on them.
My point is that both of these classes: media writers and media owners, need to get a clue. The model that underlies the whole structure of entertainment is collapsing, and both classes going down with it. Neither can count on the old model surviving much longer: frankly, I doubt that there will even be a "media industry" in five years. I don't have much hope that media owners will make it through this transition, but writers who stake their creative claim to the emerging new model have a chance, if they can free themselves of their dependence on what I called "the corporate teat" and set out for themselves on line.
The going won't be easy, the money won't be as rich as they're used to, but at least they'll be laying a foundation for their future. They should use this time off to think about what they would do if NBC, CBS, and ABC went away (because they will go away), step up to the online content plate, and start pitching, not to the networks, but directly to the people. It's the only way out of this morass.