Does Steven Levitan Also Want A Cut Every Time You Buy A TV?

from the let's-get-this-straight-now... dept

We recently wrote about how TV producer Steven Levitan was publicly complaining that content creators deserve a cut of any IPO proceeds that Hulu gets, if it does go public. We pointed out what a ridiculous sense of entitlement was involved in such a sentiment, but rather than back down, Levitan is apparently only just beginning. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed him about his views on this, and he simply kept on repeating the same ridiculous concept that as a content producer he somehow deserves the money that Hulu makes. He also complains that TV companies should either keep shows offline under the false belief that TV shows are less likely to be pirated (no, stop laughing, he's serious) and that if they must go online, they should include all of the commercials seen on TV. Because, apparently, recognizing that you're dealing with people watching shows under very different circumstances and in very different ways apparently has not occurred to Levitan.

The more he argues, the deeper a hole Levitan seems to dig in his reasoning. He complains that if we don't figure out a way to make his shows profitable, the only thing left to watch will be "sneezing pandas." This is a version of the movie industry's "$200 million myth." It's the "well, it costs me $x to make this, so if we can't make that back, no one else could possibly make quality content for less." It's incredibly elitist and wrong. Not only is there good content made for less money out there (beyond the sneezing pandas), but if there's really demand for his shows (and there appears to be), then there are smart business models you can pursue that don't involve pissing off your fans or demanding an equity pay out from a company you didn't actually invest in.

Of course, the Hollywood Reporter doesn't help when it asks silly questions like:
Rupert Murdoch also has been an advocate of content creators getting paid for use of copyrighted content online. Has he reached out?
This assumes, falsely, that folks who are working on things like Hulu or who support alternative business models don't want to get content creators paid. Look, we all want content creators to get paid, we just think they should do it with smart business models, rather than by restricting content, pissing off fans and running to the government for greater protectionism.

In the meantime, since Levitan still seems to think he deserves a cut of Hulu's eventual IPO take, I have to ask if he also thinks he deserves a cut from every TV sold, or from whatever money TV companies raise from the capital markets?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    MarksAngel (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 7:41am

    ..

    Somehow I knew his tweet was only the beginning...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 7:45am

    I think Hulu should send Levitan a portion of their bandwidth bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    beep-boop, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Now there's an idea, i wonder what his reaction would be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Kickstarter

    As we've seen from the last post - all Levitan has to do is put his proposal on Kickstarter. If the public want his shows, they'll back him - if not - well they obviously prefer sneezing pandas.

    Of course what this does remove is the opportunity to get insanely rich and carry on being paid for lying in the grave into your grandchildren's old age. For the general public, however, this would not be a loss and content would still be produced.

     

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  5.  
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    Moo^2, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:05am

    and in his his next tweet he will denounce VCRs allowing people to skip commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    cc (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:06am

    If only these people weren't such cowards, and they'd stop bitching to the press and start, you know, DEBATING.

    I bet this guy will keep repeating the same shite until the day he dies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:07am

    Re: Kickstarter

    Let's see, Levitan's content or sneezing pandas? I'd watch the sneezing pandas first, hell I'd donate to the sneezing pandas first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Jes Lookin, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:07am

    Everybody Owes Someone

    To the corporatocrasy, everybody owes them for 'content'. When you buy hardware or media, when you connect to their infrastructure, when you're allowed to access 'content', when you access 'content' (but never own it)... and when you decide it sucks and cancel or change. Now, if every content provider were required to fully and correctly account for where corporate, advertising, and fee revenue actually goes, you may get a different story or a louder version of arrogance. But, you'd still owe them until laws are changed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    designerfx (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    I think we all should send a portion of our bandwidth bill to rupert murdoch - or maybe google should send him a portion of theirs?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    interval, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Kickstarter

    Hey man, "Just Shoot Me" was pretty good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:15am

    In another post here on techdirt thought this was a conspiracy ...

    Never attribute to conspiracy something that is more easily attributed to stupidity ....

    "Levitan: Many people at all levels are having this conversation privately. I'm the only one dumb enough to have it out in the open."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re:

    Why don't we all just bill each other for everything that we do? That way, all our books can look good for incoming capital owed.

    Problem is, we'd owe everyone else on the planet for every action they're taking too....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh that's not a problem. You just spin off a company and have that company owe all the debt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:52am

    I don't really care, there is nothing he can do about it and not even crying to the government will make a difference because not even the government has the power to do it.

    Crazy people can talk crazy all they want, it won't change reality.

    What are they going to do, pass a law that strip people from land and earnings like in medieval times?

    That worked well LoL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    hahahahahahaha, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Kickstarter

    yeah, but Stacked? i'd rather watch the sneezing panda for 22 min. the quality of his shows doesn't matter, it's the fact that he thinks he's entitled to profits from everyone for all time. i agree entirely w/ sending him the bandwidth bill.

     

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  16.  
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    Darrel, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 9:03am

    hes right

    I say let the free market rule. If he wants to charge Hulu for the content, let Hulu tell him where to stick it, or pay. When his content does not generate revenue on their paid service they will cancel him. Aside from maybe select football games there is no content I would pay specifically for. I am not the only one.

     

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  17.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 9:14am

    @2 also

    we users should send him the bandwidth bills considering they are wanting caps and throttling for users use.

    PERHAPS thats one angle to fight copyrights and caps.

    START sending distribution bills (for my bandwidth costs) at my inflated cost plus my time at 25-30$ a hour.

    seeing how old way had us paying for distribution and if hulu and me are actually the distributor , where is my cut of the insane profits ....OH RIGHT , they only want the scam cash not to give yo value ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Danny, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    He also complains that TV companies should either keep shows offline under the false belief that TV shows are less likely to be pirated (no, stop laughing, he's serious)...
    I know you said stop laughing but I can't. I'm sorry.


    The Hollywood Reporter interviewed him about his views on this, and he simply kept on repeating the same ridiculous concept that as a content producer he somehow deserves the money that Hulu makes.
    Often times the best way to end someone's nonsense (or at least help you realize it is nonsense) is to turn their own words back onto them. So does that mean....

    1. He should pay the makers of legal pads or the makers of whatever he jots notes down with beyond initial purchase?
    2. He should pay the manufacturers of of any computers/Macs he uses beyond initial purchase?
    3. He should pay the developers of any software he uses beyond intial purchase?
    4. He should pay the places he buys food from beyond initial purpose (because if he didn't have food he would have starved to death before making that content)?

    How far does he really want to take this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    athe (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Oh Well

    I really enjoyed Modern Family, and was planning on buying it when it was released on DVD. No more.

    Of course I realise that the masses would have no idea who this guy is, and it'll still probably still sell really well, but, I just can't bring myself to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Aaron (profile), Sep 1st, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Stupidity

    I find it sad that someone who thinks his work is so great and magnificent refers to it as "content," implying that it was only made to 'fill a box' so to speak and get him paid. It really shows the corporate attitude towards art when they refer to it as "content." Referring to works as such is disrespectful and demeaning to both the works and the authors.
    If your work is good people will like it (not necessarily everybody, but some people will.) If your work sucks, then you should cut your loss and try again while learning from your mistakes. It's time for these morons to grow up and quit throwing temper tantrums about how "no one respects my work."

    And "creators"? Artists, musicians, authors, etc are not gods. I've heard some band fans describe their favorite bands as "gods" but that's just fan opinion. Just because you wrote a story, composed a song, or painted a picture doesn't make you a god nor does it mean your great great great grandchildren should be entitled to a luxurious life. I'm not going to sue my current employer for not paying me that long for the work I did 3 years ago. That would be stupid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anand, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 11:00pm

    Now since I have commented here and thereby created additional content for TechDirt, I demand a percent of your Adsense earnings!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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