This writer strike is very interesting. I’m reading now that the studios are going to try to outlast the writers. That means going until October in the hopes that they’ll not be able to pay rent. Or perhaps have to miss payments on their mortgage or their cars.
That does sound very Draconian. The question ultimately, is, is this a fundamentally “different” strike?
And when I say fundamentally different, I mean, is it different in the very nature of the products and services discussed? Not just in the sense that they’re talking about wanting to use artificial intelligence to create actors or to write scripts, those sorts of things. Rather is this fundamentally different because of the vast amount of products that have been created over the past several years. And tangentially, is this different because unlike most strikes for products or services where they have expiration dates–like bread, or can “sell out” like cars, the existing products are timeless.
With the explosion of all the different means and mediums available for production of video or television content, we’ve seen a large number of productions that most people had never watched. We have Apple TV products. We have Netflix shows. We have all sorts of different shows on Paramount+.
Most of which I’ve never watched and many of which I’d be interested in watching.
Now with this strike if no new content for the series of shows that I continuously watch is created (for me, it’s procedurals like NCIS and their various spinoffs or FBI and their various shows) I might be willing now to consider watching other shows. In fact, I may now find the time for the shows that I’ve been wanting to watch for awhile. So for studios, they have productions that are out there that, just maybe, haven’t gotten traction.
It would be first run for many of us. So here’s the challenge. Studios can now increase advertising for shows that people haven’t watched. Ultimately, this would lead them to continue generating ad revenue. The can sell advertising spots on those shows and they can sell spots on reruns. Now over time the value of the advertisement may drop. And so they may only get 80%, 70%, 50% of the revenue they used to get from advertising for first run shows.
The question now becomes how much was the cost of the full production of those shows? What did it cost them to produce the show relative to the revenue they were earning from advertising.
This is what might make this a fundamentally different strike.
They don’t need to produce new shows to keep the ad revenue coming. They have a vast storehouse of productivity already there.
Tell me what YOU think in the comments below.
Tell me what you think. What are your thoughts on this?