Comedy Writers, VCs to Disintermediate TV Studios

I frequently criticize the Recording Industry for the short sighted stupidity; The Film industry has a history of being savvier than the record industry, but still is subject to frequent bouts of idiocy.

Its possible that the brain trusts running the television industry may make both of those groups look like rocket scientists: The L.A. Times is reporting that the writers strike has motivated the striking comedy writers to sit down with Venture Capitalists. The two groups are exploring new web based ways to reach comedy audiences, potentially bypassing the TV studios.

The TV studios have already lost. The VCs will find a business model that works on the cheap, and begin competing with the studios, even if the strike is settled tomorrow. I suspect that Television, as we know it, is now officially over.


"Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture
capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio
system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.

At least seven groups, composed of members of the striking Writers
Guild of America, are planning to form Internet-based businesses that,
if successful, could create an alternative economic model to the one at
the heart of the walkout, now in its seventh week.

Three of the groups are working on ventures that would function much
like United Artists, the production company created 80 years ago by
Charlie Chaplin and other top stars who wanted to break free from the

"It’s in development and rapidly incubating . . ."

Regardless of whether the strike gets settled, and what cut the writers get, the situation has just unleashed a long tail of entrepreneurial energies of some of the most creative minds in the country. Just what television needed as their ratings have been sliding: competition from both within and without.

It appears that the TV studios and producers are drawing from the bottom of the same IQ talent pool of executives as the RIAA and MPAA . . .


UPDATE December 19, 2007 3:30pm

Portfolio addresses the same essential subject in their January 2008 issue:

Will Ferrell and the End of Media as We Know It


Striking writers in talks to launch Web start-ups   
Joseph Menn
Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2007,0,4998256,full.story?

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