For months now Hollywood studios have been stocking up inventory in anticipation of the writers’ strike. The big question being asked at this time is if this strike could inadvertently give a leg up to the web.
As many shows are going to reruns, users are generating more content and online content is being produced in abundance. The Associated Press quoted Duncan Riley on the Techcrunch blog to say “The trends in viewer numbers have all been headed online to this point; this strike could well accelerate this trend, particularly if it lasts over the long term. It will be a chance for millions online to bloom.”
The strike is addressing this exact thing. The Writers Guild of America is asking for a percentage of the revenue generated online from their work, however the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers say that it is still too early to understand if and how the traditional media will capitalize from online exposure.
The catch is that the web stands to benefit from this strike and not the other way around at the moment. There has even been a call to arms so to speak in support of the shows on hiatus for the strike that have episodes online. This will also boost advertisers’ profits.
Comedy Central’s newer site DailyShow.com has about 13,000 videos on it and the page for “The Colbert Report” has every episode on it as well.
Even though this transition of traditional to online television watching seems likely should the strike be resolved immediately, the impact of a long strike could promote said transition. And the implication is that the strike may just last. Nick Counter, chief negotiator for the producers union was quoted by The Associated Press to say “We’re hunkered down for a long one.”
It is being said that so far the most promising site to bear the “burden” of the potential influx in viewership is the recently launched little-engine-that-could Hulu.com. The site is a joint venture by NBCU and News Corp., which hosts full length shows from their own, and other networks.
The entire argument comes back to the initial point that there is a potential for the web to step into the spotlight that TV currently inhabits. This started the strike, and perhaps will be propelled forward because of it.