wga – Antenna http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu Responses to Media and Culture Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:48:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 What Are You Missing? Mar 20-April 2 http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2011/04/03/what-are-you-missing-mar-20-april-2/ http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2011/04/03/what-are-you-missing-mar-20-april-2/#comments Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:00:14 +0000 http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/?p=8873 Ten (or more) media industry news items you might have missed recently:

1. Music recommendation engines have mostly flopped with users, and Google has pulled its music search feature to tinker with it. In the meantime, perhaps Google’s new +1 button will help with music searching and recommending, while the music industry itself is freaking out about Amazon’s cloud service, as labels are mad that Amazon hasn’t secured licensing rights for this use (some of the same issues that have kept Spotify from coming to the US), and Apple and Google are keeping an eye on this for their own future cloud plans. A bonus for Canadian readers: Canada beat the US again in digital music growth! 01 Canada!

2. Blockbuster is shuttering more than 150 stores as it awaits auction this week, with Carl Icahn and Dish Network as possible buyers. Netflix is probably chuckling at that, as its shares went up and it nears a big deal to stream Miramax films. And while Netflix is concerned about data caps in Canada, enough to reduce streaming video quality there, it maybe doesn’t have to worry about the Amazon cloud service, nor are movie studios as perturbed as music labels are by Amazon’s cloud (yet).

3. The role of film festivals and arthouse cinemas is changing as online distribution grows in prominence. Also likely to grow is online movie ticket purchasing through services like Groupon; some wonder if differential ticket pricing would help grow theater attendance; and, as our waistlines continue to grow, at least we won’t have to be reminded of the calories we’re consuming in movie theater popcorn, thanks to an FDA ruling. But the biggest challenge theater owners have now is premium video-on-demand rentals, whose imminent launching angers the National Association of Theater Owners. The underlying message from studios to theater owners at the recent CinemaCon was basically “Quit yer bitchin’ and get with the digital program,” which is sure to go over well.

4. The Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers struck a contract deal, no strike needed, even though it doesn’t offer everything the WGA wanted (note: Variety paywalled article), and some members, who still have to vote on it, think it’s a bad deal (note: NSFW Kurt Sutter tweet). Meanwhile, Michigan has decided its film production tax credits are a bad deal, and filmmakers are fleeing as a result, while Georgia decided to keep theirs.

5. Nielsen has studied the placement of gaming consoles in the home, determining that the Wii rules the living room, while the Xbox dominates in the kids’ bedroom. In terms of games, Guitar Hero 3 tops a list of best-selling games from this generation, and The Weinstein Company hopes to make future lists with video game versions of some of its library titles, mostly horror films like Scream.

6. Burma has banned Skype, while China’s censorship of electronic communication continues to tighten, and Google is especially in its crosshairs. Google is funding development of technologies to detect such censorship, and the US government has given the BBC World Service money to help combat it. But lest we think censorship is only a problem elsewhere, we should take note that the ACLU is fighting to stop schools from blocking LGBT websites.

7. File-sharing music piracy in the US has declined, with 9% of internet users now using P2P services to download. Some point to the shutdown of Limewire as a direct catalyst for the decline; others disagree. Either way, a London School of Economics study claims that file-sharing isn’t responsible for the record industry’s collapse. From the film perspective, new MPAA head Chris Dodd sees things differently, saying that piracy is the single biggest threat to the survival of the movie industry, as DVD piracy in places like China is running wild. So the solution, I guess, is to demand IP addresses of individual downloaders and to totally get that one guy who uploaded Wolverine. Take that, China!

8. David Carr insists we need to recognize Google as a media company, and it’s certainly made the WAYM links a lot lately. Here’s more: Google has picked Kansas City as its fiber network test market, gotten probation for the bad Buzz, been accused of antitrust violations by Microsoft, and added the +1 button; Google Street View has been deemed legal in Germany and got fined in France; and Google Books lost a key court case, which further delays the dream of a universal digital library.

9. Some random internet bits: AOL is consolidating content sites, Dropbox is making money, Groupon is getting sued, Reddit is creeping us out, Firefox 4 is being downloaded a lot, LinkedIn has reached 100 million, and PayPal has new competition, plus check where your state ranks in internet access speed.

10. Some good News for TV Majors links from the past two weeks: Mad Men Agreement, TWC Fight & TWC Pulls Channels, Peabody Awards, Viewing By Race, Profanity Appeals Pause, Internet TV Standards, New Football PlaysStarz Delay for Netflix, Showtime Pulling From Netflix, Mogul Salaries, BBC Cuts.


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Lessons from Los Angeles: Top Takeaways from the TV Academy (Part One) http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2010/11/22/lessons-from-los-angeles-top-takeaways-from-the-tv-academy-part-one/ http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2010/11/22/lessons-from-los-angeles-top-takeaways-from-the-tv-academy-part-one/#comments Mon, 22 Nov 2010 17:46:06 +0000 http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/?p=7456 Each year, the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Foundation gathers twenty faculty from all over the U.S. and gives them incredible access to studio executives, writers, directors, editors, producers, attorneys, and SFX artists…with daily field trips to studio lots and live sets thrown in. We were fortunate enough to take part in this year’s Foundation Faculty Seminar, and wanted to share with Antenna readers some of what we gleaned during this whirlwind week:

1. Most “Tribal Knowledge” About Rights is 100% Wrong
A few words on copyright and clearance rights: If you are a writer, don’t just register your script with the WGA West or East. The best way to legally protect your script and yourself is to buy a copyright. If production designer or set decorator, don’t think that because you bought a picture on the wall or a painting, or got permission from a home owner to shoot in their house, that you now have any right to show that picture or painting in your series. It’s a separate permission, and without it, you might end up spending thousands of dollars after the fact to get the rights or digitally erase it. If you are a prop master, make sure that a character doesn’t get killed with a Heinz 57 bottle. Bad things should never happen with commercial products. You’ll never get the rights. If you are a casting agent, make sure that the least ethical person in your docudrama is played by your most famous—and most attractive—actor.

2. Being a Showrunner is a Benevolent Dictatorship.
The appeal of being a showrunner is that you have an enormous amount of control over your project; you are the CEO of the show. The downside, is that that all of these other commitments take you away from what you love: the writing. That can be a blessing and a curse, since many writers agree that TV writing is the ideal job for people who hate being alone even more than they hate writing.

Showrunners Panel: Deb Curtis (Programming Exec/Moderator), James Duff (The Closer), Jenji Kohan (Weeds), Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town), Matt Weiner (Mad Men)

3. The Primetime Game Show Will Return
Two-and-a-half years ago there were seven game shows on primetime television. Now there are zero. We hear they will return! Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop might just kick off the resurgence in December.

4. Barney McNulty Was the Creator of Cue Cards
Of course someone created them, but now we know who.

5. If You Know What You Are Doing, You Can Make $8 Million in Fifteen Minutes
When a championship game goes into overtime, the operations producer at the network gets on the phone and starts creating his own match-ups. As the clock wore down in a close football game last year, Fox Sports VP Jack Simmons got on the phone and built another series of commercial breaks, found new inventory, and made his network a ton of money. Just don’t ask him the score at the end of the game. He’ll watch it on the DVR when he gets home.

Jack Simmons, Senior VP Production, Fox Sports

6. The DVR Has Changed Everything and Nothing
The “Network called DVR” is contemporary TV’s frenemy. Writers now have to work in a four-act structure for a 30-minute show, thanks to TiVo. While Live Plus ratings have given networks some breathing room to still benefit from time-shifted viewing, when Hulu puts a show up within three days of it airing, the Live+3 numbers go down substantially. At the same time, overall ratings are 15% higher in DVR homes than in non-DVR homes. People with DVRs watch more TV. But DVRs are still the minority in most American homes, so today, successful shows still get 40%-50% of their audience from the lead-in. The bottom line, according to broadcast programming executives: flow and scheduling still matter.


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