Writers, Directors, Actors Want Their Cut Of The Online Video Spoils

from the did-no-one-expect-this? dept

One of the important things in business is being able to be aware enough and flexible enough that you’re rarely (if ever) caught by surprise. You can watch for trends and do scenario planning to help with these types of things — but apparently some folks in the entertainment industry don’t believe in that kind of planning ahead (if they’d only contacted us, we could have helped). So, now, it seems that they’re running into all sorts of problems that were easily predictable five years ago. Take the TV industry, for example. Five years ago, they should have paid attention to the various disputes between musicians and the recording industry over digital rights. Contracts had been written in a time before the internet, and no one was exactly sure who got what cut in the royalties and whether or not it was really covered by existing contracts. That, of course, should have been the signal for those in the video business to start looking at their contracts and figuring it all out before it became a problem for them as well. And, of course, not very much happened. So, now, as we hear stories about Google negotiating to give entertainment companies a nice upfront lump of cash to allow their videos online, writers, directors and actors are suddenly wondering what it all means for them. They want to know what their cut will be. Considering that the industry execs have a long, long history of figuring out ways to take the money without paying the talent, they absolutely should be worried.

These are the type of legacy issues that should have been clear from years ago — and which seem to have been ignored by the execs. Either that or they knew about them and figured they would have the leverage in the end anyway, so there was no reason to negotiate. Of course, these kinds of legacy issues don’t just impact the content creation side of the business. Business Week is writing about the difficulties HBO is facing in designing its own online strategy — since any such plan routes around the cable TV providers who pay good money (and make nice profits) being the only way to get HBO’s sought after content. Again, this should have been clear years ago, but it sounds like everyone’s just trying to figure out how to get around the legacy issues now.

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Comments on “Writers, Directors, Actors Want Their Cut Of The Online Video Spoils”

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messer says:

decentralizing the centralized

The problem is technology allows the creator and the performer of the content to be in control. Knowing this, this means that people can lose jobs if the centralized monopolies in music and video entertainment lose control on the market. I mean “control”. Example….the music industry does payola to get their music spun and pushed in front of consumers by traditional means. Now that more and more people are getting access to the music they want via internet and satellite radio, the dependency on traditional means starts to transition and the industries self serving business model does not change with consumer habits, but still tries to push what they want to do.

It’s a great time for independent musicians and independent video productions because you can get your products in the hands of independent or b and c promotion and distribution companies or even do it themselves and keep overhead low and profits up for the creator.

chris (profile) says:

but what about the artists?

i really hope that the industry circles the wagons on this issue. i can’t think of a better way for the entertainment companies to screw themselves than if they cut the actors and the crews out of the online action. then we can finally let this whole “think of the childre… i mean artists” nonsense rest.

and for those of you that think people become actors for the money should talk to someone in theater. there’s and industry that is subsidized by charities and in some cases even state, local and even federal the government and STILL loses money.

Geoff says:

I've got an idea

Here’s a thought for the music industry: Stop pushing the same ol’ crappy artists and look at the strength of the Indie market place.

I’ve been saying (and talking to record industry pooh-ba’s) for years that the problem is not only the access via the internet (illegally) to their music, it’s the crap that they keep churning out. Anyone take a look at the top selling CD’s this week? What a wonderful array of crap….Meatloaf, Tony Bennet, Barry Manilow, the Who, Rod Stewart….With all due respect to these artists, their time has past, and if record companies would spend a little more time, money and EFFORT, they could be signing and promoting some of the Rod Stewart’s of the future, instead, they use and abuse the downloading/illegal activities to wait and see who is going to be hot next. There was a time when it was cool to snap up a bar singer and turn them into a star (See Elvis Presley or R.E.M.), now the easiest thing to do is to sit back and wait, release a new hit album by Tony Bennett, and see if that bar band has enough groundswell to take the next step. It doesn’t work! Internet + Satellite radio shows that the mainstream is dying or dead, people crave something new and they know how to get it.

If you build it they will come!

Michael Urlocker (user link) says:

Artists last in the royalty queue?

Mark Cuban at BlogMaverick had a very detailed analysis of (and inside dope on) the negotiations with media companies that led to the Google takeover, including how artists were squeezed out of the deal.

It is consistent with your report.

Summary here:

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