A television marketplace prediction for 2008

While I wanted to spend more time fleshing this out, I'm going to have to just say it before January is over. I have a very specific prediction for 2008 relating to the television marketplace.

The writers strike will spark a major downturn. I simply don't understand why similar revenue percentages that writers and performers get when a show is distributed over a traditional broadcast medium can't be applied to other media such as Internet downloads and DVD's. We are simply talking about revenue sharing, not some fixed amount of money, so there is no risk to the producers at all (IE: if the producers don't make any money, then they don't have to pay anyone else either). For whatever reason, the old-economy Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) are holding out on this simple idea.

The downturn shouldn't be surprising as that is the purpose of the strike, given this s the only leverage these writers have to get a fair deal. We already have reports about how the Writers' strike boosts YouTube traffic, and some of that traffic may never return to traditional television.

AMPTP members will misdirect the blame for this downturn from their own stupidity to -- you guessed it -- unauthorized P2P filesharing. This is the same tactic that the Recording Industry used: screw over your authors and performers, don't offer content fairly to audiences in a format they want and at a reasonable price, massively reduce the number of new titles, and then blame P2P for the inevitable largely self-inflicted downturn.

I'm not saying that people aren't sharing music, movies and television via P2P networks without permission. What I am saying is that as morally outraged as creators can legitimately become about this activity, it is not by a long shot the most harmful thing currently happening within those industries.

My hope is that those writers are not just picketing, but demonstrating their talents for new media companies. I know I am looking for the day when I can simply download (authorized, not infringing) the content I want at a reasonable price. It will of course need to be Unlocked Media as I'm not ever going to pay for DRM-infected locked media, and for me it is best if it is encoded in MP4 format so it is already ready for my Neuros OSD. I am paying for the Rogers Me TV package essentially to get Battlestar Gallactica (BSG) via Space, so I am obviously willing to pay for good quality content written by amazing writers.

Note: I have heard rumors that much of the BSG set is now all closed off, and that many of the support staff have been temporarily laid off. This is a show produced out of Vancouver, so the harmful thinking of these US major studios is yet again screwing Canadians. Anyone who has details are asked to please add a comment to this posting!

Addition: Check out Jesse Brown's Essay: Why The Writer's Strike Doesn't Matter on the DBC Search Engine site for a different perspective.

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I have a friend that worked

I have a friend that worked as an extra in the earlier seasons. They were lucky enough to get a major, but non-speaking, role in the final season. They have been following their NDA to the letter (for their sake and for mine ;) ) so I have no details, however, they suggested that filming has been completed for a bit now and they are just in post-production (editing, cgi, etc).

Filming of all the final BSG season expisodes?

Are you suggesting that they have completed filming for all the episodes of the final season, and that we might be seeing that final season on Space starting in March as originally planned?

I understand the NDA for sure. There are some pretty good cliff hangers the writers have left for us, and you wouldn't want to ruin the suspense by leaking that. Then again, I was very happy Space re-aired Razer given I needed a BSG fix as it has been so long.

It will be sad to see this story come to the conclusion, as it has been a wild ride.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.