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Monday, November 05, 2007

TV Season Could Be Internet Casualty

How ironic -- the TV season is in jeopardy because of DVD and online sales of video, and the industry that might benefit the most from the writer's strike is online video.

Writers want to renegotiate the small residual payments they receive for DVD and Internet downloads/streams that they contributed to, as well as get a payment for video that is made available "for promotional purposes."

The networks have to figure out how to share the ad revenue from online video and be more generous than the small payments that they currently make to writers. But what should be paid to writers for clips of a show that don't generate any revenue directly? The contract with the actor's union is up next June, and the same issue of residuals and online payments will come up.

So with only reruns and even more lame reality series to watch starting in January, some folks are very likely to spend more time on their computers reading, listening to music and watching videos. Some of these viewers likely won't return to TV at all or won't spend as much time with the tube.

As Peter Ames Carlin of The Oregonian points out, original online content as well as Internet distribution are part of the biggest revolution in TV. From Joost to YouTube to Podshow  to blinkx to original series from Comedy Central and others, it is getting easier to find something interesting to watch online.

So the longer the networks and the writers' can't agree on residuals for online and DVDs, the more likely it becomes that people bypass TV altogether and do their viewing online or watch DVDs instead.

Jon Stewart referred to this irony when signing off for the last time before the strike. He said that the Daily Show will stop production because of the strike, but you can watch all of the old shows online through a new archive.

No new Daily Shows! I guess my TV viewing time is now 2 hours lighter per week.


By John Gartner at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

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