Details from inside the boardroom are sketchy, but outside the boardroom, it’s no contest. The Hollywood writers are killing the studios on the PR front, according to every poll conducted so far. But now the studios want to win that battle, too.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is bringing in big-time Democratic spin doctors to make their case: digital revenue is a trickle, despite three years of press releases and public statements to the contrary.
The AMPTP hired Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani, senior aides to President Clinton and former Veep Al Gore, and Steve Schmidt, former campaign manager to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take over the effort. The new advisers will take over from former Warner Bros. exec Barbara Brogliatti, who moves into an advisory role.
The new team has a tough task. The sight of fellow writers on the picket line triggers the natural sympathies of journalists, many of whom feel their own careers/livelihoods are threatened by the transition to digital. The WGA has the added advantage of being able to leak the details of the various AMPTP offers on digital ($250 for a year’s use of a TV show online!) which sound like a pittance.
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