AfterDawn: Tech news

Hollywood sets eyes on revenues from video iPod

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 17 Oct 2005 5:11 User comments (27)

Hollywood sets eyes on revenues from video iPod Just days after Apple unveiled the new iPod video to the world, five unions representing actors, writers and directors issued a joint call for talks to ensure that their members get a cut of the revenue generated from TV shows sold via iTunes. This is a rare unity between the groups who often bicker over such things as royalties from DVD sales. The unions made it very clear to producers what they demand in their statement.
"We have not yet heard from the responsible employers of our members," their joint statement said. "But we look forward to a dialogue that ensures that our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work." Presidents of unions representing writers and actors first learned about the ABC / Apple deal while lunching at a Beverly Hills restaurant. The deal means that Apple can sell episodes of some of ABC's hit shows like Lost a day after they air.

This makes ABC the first network to make such a deal, and more networks are expected to follow suit soon. So what these unions are demanding, is their cut of the revenue. Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West and John Connolly, president of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists called their counterparts at the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, East after they learned of the development.

"We developed a new piece of stationary that never existed before," Verrone said. Apple will be selling ABC's shows for $1.99 each a day after they originally air on TV and it is this revenue that the unions have their eyes on. ABC has not yet heard from the Unions however, but did issue a statement. "The guilds are our business partners, and we always welcome a dialogue with them on any business-related issue that affects their members," reads the statement.

"We have to learn more about the actual technology," Verrone said. "I'm thrilled by the notion I can watch my shows in the palm of my hand, but I also want to make sure we are paid appropriately." A conflict could arise if studios decide to treat the Internet downloads the same as a DVD sale, which might result in lower payments.


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27 user comments

117.10.2005 7:34

Another prime example of people who think they should be making more money. They've been paid by the network to make the show. The network owns it, not the writers or the directors, and the network can do what it wants with it. If the writers think they aren't making enough, then they need to take it up with the network, and not with some other hardware. It's like saying Hitachi owes money for displaying your show on millions of TVs... it's just rediculous. These guys need to realize that their greed is only quickening the downfall of the traditional media model. I don't like the whole download for money thing to start with. The show made it's money in advertising, and it will probably make more money in merchandising and DVD sets. Does that mean that using my TIVO is now illegal theft since they offer for sale? I don't like the precedent being set that TV shows (that were freely broadcast) should have a charge for watching them again. How long before TIVO starts restricting shows and that broadcast flag come back if there's 'lost money due to piracy' involved, even though the whole thing should have been free to start with.

217.10.2005 8:14

So, artists and producers who write and create music should not be paid royalties for "iTunes" sales because they're already being paid for CD sales? Same argument. These are the people who create these shows. Sure the networks financially back the productions in part, but without actors, writers, and directors, there's no show to sell. I'm not big on the whole hollywood money game, but these people wanting a cut does not seem unreasonable to me.

317.10.2005 13:20

What I'm saying is that it's not the writer's right to request the money directly from iTunes. If they want to request the money from the network (their employer), and in turn if the network wants to charge more, I'm ok with that. If I want a raise, I ask my boss and the company, I don't go start telling my company's clients that I need an extra $5 per license because I think the software module I wrote is worth more than they paid me.

417.10.2005 13:56

The story is not particularly clear to me on this point, but from what I'm seeing, the writers and actors are asking their employers, the network and the producers for a portion of the 1.99 per show price. It does not appear to me that Apple is being asked for more money at this point. Personally, I could care less about watching TV shows on a screen the size of a credit card even if they were free, and at 1.99 per they can bite my shiny metallic butt.

517.10.2005 13:58

"Personally, I could care less about watching TV shows on a screen the size of a credit card even if they were free, and at 1.99 per they can bite my shiny metallic butt." AMEN!

617.10.2005 14:31

#1: Yes shows should be free, but when they're shown to you, the consumer, without advertisements-that is why they charge money. Think of it as software that is fully functional but when registered, stops showing ads on it. #2: This is really not so much like music, for music they are paid per sale I think. Actors and TV people are paid to produce the show and they get their money from the company who essentially buys the show's rights. I dont think the show makers get money from advertisements, I think its the companies that broadcast them (i.e. ABC). Im not sure exactly how DVD sales and such figure into this, however. All and all, it sounds to me like the guilds are putting pressure on the companies like ABC that are getting royalties from itune sales to get a cut. I figure that will translate to trying to get Apple to raise the percentage or overall revenue that goes to royalties in order to offset that. My two cents: yes their greedy, but so are we, those of us who download copyrighted material. They think they deserve more for their shows, we think we deserve more for our money-but lets get real: how many of us are doing it because they're greedy? We do it because we can, its free, and because its more convenient--not to 'get back at the greedy film makers'. And on another note, this is all bulls--t. Who in their right minds is gonna pay two dollars for a tv show episode to watch it on a piece of s--t screen. I think the whole ipod video idea is a waste-just makes the player thicker and more expensive than it needs be.

717.10.2005 15:53

well even though ipod's screen is small i'm guessing you can output the video. they might as well start selling the tv shows for viewing on your pc/tv now. it would offer an alternative to downloading them over bittorrent.

817.10.2005 18:38

OK, what I'd like to know is, what exactly are we going to get for our $1.99 ? ** I have very little doubt that the downloaded shows will be very heavily DRM'd, and as such, will likely only be viewable on the iPod. ** What do we do if/when the iPod's hard drive becomes full? If we delete the (older) shows from the iPod, will we lose them forever? Or in other words ... ** Will we be allowed, later on, to put the (previously downloaded) shows back on the iPod to view them again? ** What if we lose our iPod (or it gets stolen, or we break it or ...)? If we buy a NEW iPod, will the previously saved (and paid-for) shows be useable again? ** Will we *ever* be allowed to output the video from the iPod to a standard TV set, or view the (originally downloaded) shows on our PCs? You're all correct - viewing any kind of video for a prolonged period on a microscreen would drive me up the wall after a while. Trouble is - because these shows are *meant* to be played only on a teeny-tiny screen, I imagine the resolution (of the files themselves) will be pretty crummy, and you probably wouldn't want to watch them on a bigger screen anyay. Maybe if Apple would forego a little bit of miniaturization, (make the damn screen bigger), it might not be too bad.

917.10.2005 20:54

By TheAntiMe posted Oct 18, 2005 - 12:23 AM The unions (and I use the term extremely loosely) should just be thankful that anyone is watching that stuff. They need to wake up and see that many people find that watching The Weather Channel is more entertaining. It does appear (as stated in the article) that the actors are being exploited, but it is the unions to whom they pay their dues, that are exploiting them and getting rich off of their performing talents.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Oct 2005 @ 20:59

1018.10.2005 7:40

freshguy " is the unions to whom they pay their dues, that are exploiting them and getting rich off of their performing talents." Are you inferring that the networks and producers are not exploiting the actors and writers? Don't buy all the propaganda spewed out about unions. Do some research on unions and collective bargaining (PRE Jimmy Hoffa era). Child labor laws, 40 hour work weeks, paid sick time, etc... These things and many onthers were not given to workers out of the goodness of their employer's hearts. They were hard won battles fought by labor unions.

1118.10.2005 8:42

No GrayArea, I'm not implying that at all. You are quite right in your comments regarding the legitimate labor unions, but let's be realistic here. The Screen Actors Guild ain't exactly the AFL-CIO. I imagine that if the SAG were to decide to picket a location they would need 25 actors and 25 stuntmen (or stuntwomen) to carry the signs for the actors. Actually, I just find it a little ironic that the Hollywood unions are crying over a couple of drops of potentially lost blood, when it is those same Hollywood unions that are currently bleeding the actors like greedy leeches.

1218.10.2005 9:00

I bought a 30" HDTV, 6 channel dolby surround sound and a laptop with a 17" widescreen brightview and 5.1 simulator to go with a dual headphone jack. I Why do they insist on trying to sell us stuff in micro versions that we don't want. I know my nephew uses his psp for vids on the go but he is not thrilled with it...All these micro services they keep trying to market to Cell Phone Users, now IPOD geez enough is anough they have never even considered the lack of media available legally or for fee over the internet. Movielink is the great for films but Starz sux bad resolution quality, all the news agencies give us little short broadcasts but no one does a full length new program over the web. I think its just so much crap and hype to get us interested in palm sized "i hate dick tracy" crap.

1318.10.2005 10:11

"...if the SAG were to decide to picket a location they would need 25 actors and 25 stuntmen (or stuntwomen) to carry the signs for the actors." Now that is funny. Guess I'll have to do some looking into what the Film Actors Guild ;-) is up to these days.

1418.10.2005 18:19

This is a giant leap in the file sharing community. I just don't know how long it will last, because there is already anger towards ABC from other television broadcasters. Just wait until the MPAA, and Television media guild start lobbying to ammend the DMCA. That's when thing's will get messy. I hope this new territory iTunes has plunged into last's a bit longer than Napster's did. They should learn from what happened to the music industry.

1518.10.2005 19:43

i am truly hurt by some of the above comments i am an actor and as you know we hardly work--even if we are good at what we do----so every bit of income that can be received might feed my family-----yes we get paid to do the show from the network--but if your a guest we only get a thing called scale which is the cheapest they can get us at---we earn less then a any crew memeber----and they work each week---us only for that show-----------so please send us 1 penny when you download our performance-----thats fair

1619.10.2005 3:35

mikey_ray: Were it within my power, I would willingly pay you more than a penny for the entertainment you bring to us. But..... how to bypass the Studio to do this? Without you, we don't have the video. Without the video, the MEGACORPS don't have squat. I believe, that as an entertainer whose work the industry is lame-dicked (impotent) without, you fare no better than the musicians who perform music. I sympathesize with you, mikey, I really do. Both the RIAA and MPAA - with their monopolistic dictatorial heiarchy - decide how the game in played. Largely, you and I both........ [lose]. [Sigh] :-(

1720.10.2005 13:46

well they get paid each NOW each time a show is rerun and have been for a long time they can thank ricky and lucy for being smart enough to work that one out for them tommays

1820.10.2005 21:14

YEAH we get paid each time it is rerun but remember we did one episode out of a season of 22 and how many times do they repeat it a year maybe once and every time they repeat it after it gets 30% less so after five times were at 50 dollars------ so again a penny a download is nuthing----- learn actors rate info at

1921.10.2005 8:05

Mikey ....

Quote: please send us 1 penny when you download our performance-----thats fair
I have never actually downloaded a TV show yet (I wouldn't know where to look), but if it comes to pass that TV downloads become the norm sometime in the future - whether it takes the form of iPod downloads (or whatever) - it is (sortof) impractical to simply say, "If you enjoy our work, please send a penny....". We, the viewing public, would have to have a specific means of getting (to you) a token of our appreciation. You, and any other actress/actor whose work we admire, would have to supply a personal email address or something. I don't think it's practical for every performing artist to set up and maintain his/her own website. The entertainment infrastructure, as it is currently set up, very nearly precludes you from receiving that which I believe you are rightfully due. It was designed NOT with the Internet in mind, but with maximum profits for the Studios. (I guess I'm stating the bleeding obvious), but)... I DO support you! And oh my God, HOW I would rather send you money than them! It's a very sad situation for everyone Mikey. I work at a Canadian Holiday Inn, and we occassionally receive as guests celebrities and "semi-celebs" whose tv performances I've enjoyed for years, and I never fail to let them know how important I think they are. A word or two of genuine appreciation, and you should just see how their eyes light up and the smiles a simple word of support brings them. I know you (and they) are most often getting a raw deal. I guess the lesson here, Mikey, is that if you're not Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis, you just don't matter very much to the "shirts". [shrug] 8-(

2021.10.2005 8:18

Money It's a crime Share it fairly But don't take a slice of my pie Money So they say Is the root of all evil today But if you ask for a rise It's no surprise that they're giving none away
- Roger Waters - Pink Floyd - 1973 If I recall correctly, Roger and his mates did okay in the "money" department. I don't know, I was really drunk at the time.

2121.10.2005 19:19

(heh-heh) - good point, freshguy, but you have to at least give them some credit. Back in '73 there was no internet, and yet they were the only ones I can think of who were actively exposing and condeming the corruptness that the music industry was engulfed in, even way back then. "Have A Cigar"; "Welcome To The Machine"..... Sure, they made lotsa quid, mate, but would you or I have done any differently if we had been in their shoes? We're all only human after all (well, most of us anyway), so what were their choices? International stardom or to remain a starving group of musical unknowns? Take your pick. And it seems to me that - far from being comfortably numb with their newfound wealth, they were the only ones with enough energy, courage and gumption to publicly (musically) shove it back into the faces of the corrupt institution that controlled it. (RIAA). Not too many artists back in '73 had the balls to do that (or even today for that matter), but fortunately, they were mega-stars by then - they were solid money-in-the-bank entities at that point, so even the mighty RIAA itself had to keep it's lying mouth shut! And anyway, a prophecy of theirs will come true in due time as consumers and musicians alike become sufficently fed-up enough with the RIAA to yell, TEAR DOWN THE WALL !!!!!!! :-)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Oct 2005 @ 8:41

2222.10.2005 7:49

Thanks A_Klingon. I had a feeling that you might pick up on that last line. -LOL- You can be sure, however, that my subtle reference to Dark Side was in the spirit of good natured fun, and most definitely meant as a tip of my hat to a great band for perhaps, the greatest album ever made. Of course they took the money and fame that came their way and I would be the first to drink to that on any day. Sorry, I didn't mean to carry on. I think I need a dirty woman, so I'll see you on the Darkside Of The Moon. Shine on, you Crazy Diamond. We now return this thread to it's original topic.

2322.10.2005 7:50

thanks klingon but i meant if you have to pay to download a show ---that you like do it---because trust me if enogh people do it semi -legally--our unnions will negotiate some new rates------so then the penny will be sent----- also heres my acting link so you all can get an idea of me--(boy i have an ego) LOL laters


2422.10.2005 8:58

Shine on, you Crazy Diamond.
You bet! It's a deal. Put 'er there, pal. [shake, shake]
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Oct 2005 @ 8:59

2522.10.2005 9:04

Very nice, mikey_ray. I'll bet that you must be a pretty good actor. On your last post you came in perfectly on cue. LOL

2622.10.2005 11:47

shake, shake
Nice suit, but maybe just a little ostentatious. LOL - Nobody likes a show-off.

2722.10.2005 15:59

rough,rough i thought critics were bad lol and scene or cut


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