At least three start-ups, each with a different business approach, are unveiling their corporate monikers and the names of their founders as they intensify the search for venture capital and top management. With names such as Hollywood Disrupted and Virtual Artists Inc., these new ventures have lured investors such as the Oscar-winning writer of “Rain Man” and the Emmy-winning scribe behind “Homicide,” along with prominent software developers and technology executives.
These new ventures are incubating in the fiery glow of the 2-month-old strike by the Writers Guild of America. The work stoppage has affected about 10,000 union members, who are seeking higher pay when their movies and TV shows are shown on the Internet. Their studio employers have pushed back, contending that the economics of the Internet are too uncertain for them to ratchet up writers’ online pay.
Some writers are now taking matters into their own hands, using their downtime to meet with venture backers, other writers and technologists.
Yes, there is no real business model for the web that matches up to that of the studios, but the truth is if the producers are claiming they can’t make money on the web with the current model, then someone else is going to figure out how to do it, and leave them behind.
What bothers me most is the inevitable anti-competitive legislation that the traditional media will start to look to get passed once they realize what’s happening. Most of it will, of course, be under the guise of anti-piracy laws, but don’t be surprised if one of the “side effects” would be that the only people who are allowed to make money selling the media online are the big studios.