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furcalchick
Nov 7, 2007, 11:42 AM
the former ceo of disney said that steve jobs is to blame for the current screenwriters strike, saying the disputes over digital distribution fees were the fault of his iTunes system putting the shows on the internet on the first place, and that without iTunes, we wouldn't see a strike now.

In his keynote speech on Wednesday morning at the Media and Money conference hosted by Dow Jones and Nielsen, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner talked about writers as though they were a minority group that he didn't particularly understand well. "I like writers. Some of my best friends are writers," he said as though attempting to save face. But nevertheless, his foremost epithet for the ongoing Writer's Guild of America strike was "stupid."

"I see stupid strikes, and I see less stupid strikes. I see smart strikes," Eisner said in the keynote, which was structured as a conversation with Neil P. Cavuto, senior vice president and managing editor of Fox Business News. "This is a stupid strike."

The problem, Eisner said, is that the Writer's Guild is lobbying for a bigger cut of the profits from digital distribution--and according to the former Disney chief, those profits simply aren't there. Eisner, now the head of a private investment firm called The Tornante Company, has launched an online video studio called Vuguru, and said that it's still more or less a fruitless labor. Vuguru's debut series, a serial mystery called Prom Queen, "didn't make money," he said.

link to article: http://www.news.com/8301-13577_3-9812703-36.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

Drumjim85
Nov 7, 2007, 11:46 AM
so can i blame henry ford for the rise in gas costs??

l33r0y
Nov 7, 2007, 11:50 AM
Ridiculous argument. If it wasn't Apple, someone else would have got there first instead, probably Microsoft.

The studios are just pissed technology is moving on and they didn't think of it first.

Persifleur
Nov 7, 2007, 12:03 PM
Eh? The strike is about all forms of digital distribution, including DVD sales.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7082456.stm

The writers' union is seeking extra payments for their work when it is re-used on other platforms such as DVDs, the internet and mobile phones.
(emphasis mine)

I imagine that's significant enough.

Drumjim85
Nov 7, 2007, 12:12 PM
Eh? The strike is about all forms of digital distribution, including DVD sales.

(emphasis mine)

I imagine that's significant enough.

It was significant enough for Family Guy to get them back on the air....

rdowns
Nov 7, 2007, 12:20 PM
*********g hypocrite. He jumped on board when new avenues of revenue were available but now doesn't want all involved in the content's creation to share in it.

Stampyhead
Nov 7, 2007, 12:26 PM
Eisner, now the head of a private investment firm called The Tornante Company, has launched an online video studio called Vuguru, and said that it's still more or less a fruitless labor. Vuguru's debut series, a serial mystery called Prom Queen, "didn't make money," he said.

This is his yardstick to measure the success of digital downloads? I don't think anyone would download that even if it were free. He acts as though selling media online is a money-losing venture (I'm talking about the stuff people actually want to watch). You just stick it up on iTunes and wait for people to buy it. It's an additional revenue stream. How is that bad?

FoxyKaye
Nov 7, 2007, 12:35 PM
Pssst...

Michael Eisner is a lunatic. Just ask the folks at Disney.

Silencio
Nov 7, 2007, 12:36 PM
The writers really blew it with their last contract. Back then, in the early 80s, it wasn't clear that home video would take off, so they gave away the vast majority of proceeds from those sales to the studios.

Today, screenwriters only get a few pennies out of every DVD sold.

You can see why they are anxious to not make the same mistake again with digital distribution.

And who the hell listens to Eisner now, anyway? The guy nearly ran Disney into the ground. Getting insight into the entertainment industry from Eisner is a bit like interviewing John Sculley for a piece about where the computing industry is heading.

QuarterSwede
Nov 7, 2007, 12:42 PM
It's an additional revenue stream. How is that bad?
That's exactly what I was thinking. Maybe the studios aren't paying them for the additional revenue streams? That would be crap.

[Slightly OT/Rant]: I personally think most of the writers these days suck. Most of the stuff on TV certainly isn't worth watching. The funny thing is sadly it's mostly the primetime shows. How much sex can they thrown in? Serisouly, learn to write decent material. Even sex gets boring to the hypersexual society.[/Rant]

jaw04005
Nov 7, 2007, 03:04 PM
You wonder how much Steve Jobs had to do with Eisner leaving Disney. Personally, I never liked Eisner—I always felt like he cheapened the Disney brand.

I had a friend who worked at Disney during the opening of the Splash Mountain attraction. He told me that rumors circulated that Eisner and his son tested the ride before it opened and came off of it soaking wet. He then instructed the Disney engineers to reconfigure the ride so that passengers wouldn't get as wet as originally planned—delaying the ride's opening by months.

szark
Nov 7, 2007, 03:10 PM
[Slightly OT/Rant]: I personally think most of the writers these days suck. Most of the stuff on TV certainly isn't worth watching. The funny thing is sadly it's mostly the primetime shows. How much sex can they thrown in? Serisouly, learn to write decent material. Even sex gets boring to the hypersexual society.[/Rant]

[Slightly OT]Remember though, that what you see on TV is filtered by what the studios wish to produce, and what the studios wish to put on the air. Lots of scripts never see the light of day, so you aren't necessarily seeing the writers' best work.[/OT]

On topic: Eisner's statement is idiotic. :)

OldCorpse
Nov 7, 2007, 05:15 PM
Yeah, that's a pretty stupid comment. If there are no profits online, then why does he care if writers want a share of the 'non-existent' revenue? That's how writers got bamboozled last time: "we don't know if there will be profits in dvds, so don't ask for any sharing". Well, it transpired that profits eventually showed up, and writers were screwed royally for decades. Same here. All writers are saying is: "if and when revenues show up online, we'd like a cut" - eminently fair - no revenues, no share, but if there are, you share. Simple. Also, does anyone but a dinosuar like Eisner not believe that one day business will figure out how to monetize the web? Bwahahahahaha! Of course, one day they'll figure it out - at which point writers should get their fair share.

gkarris
Nov 7, 2007, 10:20 PM
Aren't the "free with some ads" distribution like the shows at NBC.com something to strike about as well?

(runs and hides...)

MacinDoc
Nov 7, 2007, 10:46 PM
Clearly jealousy. He hates seeing Jobs on the board that struggled for so many years to remove him.

Silencio
Nov 8, 2007, 12:51 AM
You wonder how much Steve Jobs had to do with Eisner leaving Disney.

He had a lot to do with it. Remember when Jobs and Eisner were squabbling over the terms of the Pixar distribution deal and Jobs got so fed up, he said Pixar would go out on its own? And remember how when Eisner finally got forced out, Pixar came back to Disney almost straight away?

I love seeing Jobs stick it to clueless execs.

boss1
Nov 8, 2007, 05:33 AM
Ok Eisner, good job at predictably ranting about a company you envy. Good job at providing nothing but a pointing crooked finger at a problem you have no clue as to how to resolve. The level of input you provide to this industry is akin to a less then mediocre couch critic.


We have problems with the housing market... let's see, hey! guy on your couch what do you think we should do? Guy on the couch responds, "Banks! they have money, that's where your problem is... it's the banks!". Well thank you for you intuitiveness couch critic, Eisner what do you think? . Eisner responds, "I concur".

How about you retire now ok? Oh wait you've already done that! which makes your presence in this situation here even more puzzling.

Nobody cares what you think about the writers guild, nobody cares about your failed Vuguuru or whatever it is. Go home and cry more please.




btw, this isn't the first time we've heard a call for Apple to split profits on hardware, however it still doesn't make the call for this type of action logical.

If you fail to make a profit from digital sales because the market of actual buyers are small, piracy is still a problem, you're marketing budget's are ridiculously high because the competition is enormous and they systems of marketing controls are out of control. That's your problem! not Apple's.

I hope you and whomever else might be behind any legal action in the future toward trying to take a piece of Apple's hardware profits with this premise gets laughed at by the judge and public.

Perhaps J Lo should ask for piece of Alpine profits for car radio's her music plays on because she failed to be the top selling artist this season also?

MacBytes
Nov 8, 2007, 09:59 AM
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rjwill246
Nov 8, 2007, 10:09 AM
Eisner has lost the plot altogether, keeping in sync with many of his movies.
There is no profitable digital revolution, according to him, thus the writers' strike is worthless since they are clearly jousting at wind-mills, YET, SJ is a b@st@rd because he has profited from the very same "revolution" and taken the writers et al. to the cleaners.

The man is mad! Rabies shots, or too late???

bwintx
Nov 8, 2007, 10:33 AM
<somewhat OT>Fortunately, Eisner's making the observation on Fox Business News will minimize its impact, since that appears to be one of the most disastrous (read: low-rated) Fox launchings in recent memory.</somewhat OT>

iVoid
Nov 8, 2007, 10:57 AM
Aren't the "free with some ads" distribution like the shows at NBC.com something to strike about as well?

(runs and hides...)

Yes, the writer's want a cut of the advertising revenue from that as well.

WhiteShadow
Nov 8, 2007, 11:12 AM
To blame an industry wide strike on one person, who is barley part of said industry, is ludicrous.

Let us be honest the writer is the least glorified position, receiving the lowest amount of gratitude and praise. The average writer in the 'writers room' is never known by the people merely the head writer is credited with the work of the entire room, sometimes as many as 30 peoples work gets the credited to the 1 or 2 head writers.

The strike is about credit and yes money is in this capitalist state is credit/status.

Do we remember when Conan O'brien was insulting every country in the world? That was to discover where his show was being syndicated, as NBC wouldn't not tell him to save on royalties.

chaser1522
Nov 8, 2007, 11:36 AM
What a moron. Look at how much iTunes has helped these companies. what a joke. I hate Eisner. It's amazing how dumb people are.

bradys88
Nov 8, 2007, 11:40 AM
Pssst...

Michael Eisner is a lunatic. Just ask the folks at Disney.


I couldn't agree with you more. As a Disney fan, I can't stand that guy. He's so into the $$ signs, he should work for Micro$oft. He did nothing good for the Disney company in the last 10 years of his tenure. He had "No Confidence" votes for his last two years there till he finally stepped down.

He's just jealous because he is no Steve Jobs. Can you blame him? He hasn't had a whole lot of success at this internet thing.

chr1s60
Nov 8, 2007, 11:46 AM
So Jobs putting tv on the internet makes it ok to rip off writers?

gceo
Nov 8, 2007, 11:52 AM
He also said that violence on TV is caused by flat panel LCD monitors.

Billy Boo Bob
Nov 8, 2007, 02:09 PM
So Jobs putting tv on the internet makes it ok to rip off writers?
No. It's the craziness of his statements...

"There's no money in digital downloads, but blame Steve Jobs for you not getting a piece of it."

Don't blame a bad contract that you did ages ago... Don't blame DVD sales, which Jobs has nothing to do with...

And another thing... I'm sure for any given show / episode, there are more people recording on a TiVo (or similar device), and even the DVD(/RW) recorders that you can buy at WalMart and all over the place, than the number who purchase from iTunes.

Now, if the :apple:TV started out as a DVR (and sold by the bazillions), then there might be a bit more of credibility to his argument... Just a bit...

awal
Nov 8, 2007, 03:16 PM
All writers are saying is: "if and when revenues show up online, we'd like a cut" - eminently fair - no revenues, no share, but if there are, you share.

I don't think that is, in fact, what they are asking for. I believe that writers get paid a residual for each time their work airs. It doesn't matter if it's a movie that cost $200 million to air and has never earned a dime of profit, they still get paid. They are arguing that they should get paid for every digital download, DVD sale etc. They are not arguing that they should get a portion of the profits once the people who put up the original capital are repaid.

Granted, the studios have "made their own bed" by constantly cooking the books as to what the real profit is on a particular production, so no one would/should ever trust them to say when the writers are entitled to profit splits. That said, the writers don't put up any risk capital. I'm hard pressed to say that they should get above-the-line payments in all circumstances. They should get a market-rate up-front payment and then residuals that are paid after a particular series, movie etc reaches profitability.

gwangung
Nov 8, 2007, 03:30 PM
I don't think that is, in fact, what they are asking for. I believe that writers get paid a residual for each time their work airs. It doesn't matter if it's a movie that cost $200 million to air and has never earned a dime of profit, they still get paid. They are arguing that they should get paid for every digital download, DVD sale etc. They are not arguing that they should get a portion of the profits once the people who put up the original capital are repaid.

Granted, the studios have "made their own bed" by constantly cooking the books as to what the real profit is on a particular production, so no one would/should ever trust them to say when the writers are entitled to profit splits. That said, the writers don't put up any risk capital. I'm hard pressed to say that they should get above-the-line payments in all circumstances. They should get a market-rate up-front payment and then residuals that are paid after a particular series, movie etc reaches profitability.


Writers don't produce any risk capital, but they put in plenty of sweat equity.

And talking about nets AFTER profitability? Um, are you sure you know what industry you're talking about???? :D

gwangung
Nov 8, 2007, 03:31 PM
Yeah, that's a pretty stupid comment. If there are no profits online, then why does he care if writers want a share of the 'non-existent' revenue? That's how writers got bamboozled last time: "we don't know if there will be profits in dvds, so don't ask for any sharing". Well, it transpired that profits eventually showed up, and writers were screwed royally for decades. Same here.

This may be (and is!) a stupid argument, but it doesn't stop a lot of lame brain people from pulling it out and trying to make a serious argument out of it....

awal
Nov 8, 2007, 04:09 PM
Writers don't produce any risk capital, but they put in plenty of sweat equity.

And talking about nets AFTER profitability? Um, are you sure you know what industry you're talking about???? :D

And writers get paid upfront for their sweat equity. 99% of the people in the world put in a lot of sweat equity but don't get paid a percentage of profits.

And I'm not sure what your second sentence even means. My comment didn't mention "nets after profitability" (whatever you think that term means). My comment said that if I were the studios, I'd argue that writers shouldn't get any residual payments until the studios reach break-even. If you read carefully, my comment also said that if I were the writers, I'd never allow the studios to be the arbiter of when they had broken even.

solvs
Nov 8, 2007, 06:26 PM
Michael Eisner is a lunatic. Just ask the folks at Disney.
No one will say it out loud, but most of us secretly curse him here, as his influence is still felt throughout.

You wonder how much Steve Jobs had to do with Eisner leaving Disney.
A lot. If it was up to Jobs, he would have been gone long ago. What remained of the Disney family hated him too. But he had cronies on the board, and wanted to make it look like he left on his own terms.

Aren't the "free with some ads" distribution like the shows at NBC.com something to strike about as well?
Those, and the DVDs, and the promos, and a lot of other stuff they aren't being paid anything for.

macnulty
Nov 8, 2007, 10:42 PM
wtf, Eisner acts as if Jobs and Apple held a gun to their collective heads.

mrsebastian
Nov 9, 2007, 11:11 AM
who [bleep] cares. seriously, can television and film get any worse? you don't even need writers at this point. i'm surprised the studio sycophants... errr executives, haven't paid some geek to write them a screenplay program. then you get your interns to feed it every script ever written, punch in a few parameters, hit the red button, and [ding] out pops a new generic script.

arkmannj
Nov 10, 2007, 05:16 PM
I think Eisner's just bitter.

Everyone in my family (From grandparents on down) except for me (so far) has worked for Disney at one time or another, and they seem to all feel that Eisner, while bringing in more money brought down the company in so many other ways.

gwangung
Nov 10, 2007, 09:09 PM
And writers get paid upfront for their sweat equity..

They get paid a PORTION upfront. They don't get paid full market value of that script--they exchange a lower price upfront for a residual. If a movie doesn't make any money, then it's a trivial amount (4 cents for every DVD remember); if it's a success, it's a portion but not particularly large either (0.02 % of the price of hit DVDs, less than that for lower press runs).

Think harder, ESPECIALLY on the second part of my statement. Even AFTER a court order, studios don't give a true accounting of profits. You really should think the writers should accept a profit-based settlement when studios don't give true accountings even after the studios lose court cases?