Writers' (Empty) Threat: We're Moving To The Web

It’s a variation on an old theme, but now the LA Times is reporting that rather than talking about moving to the web, some prominent (but mostly unnamed, at present) TV writers say they’re actually signing deals. Writer Joseph Menn says “at least seven groups” composed of idled writers guild members “are planning to form Internet-based businesses.” They’re talking about United Artists, an indie studio launched to break the studio system in the 1920s.

Spark Capital’s Todd Dagres has been flying from Boston to take meetings in LA. “I’m 100% confident that you will see some companies get formed,” he said.

Here’s the problem: what makes the Hollywood writers think they can launch profitable Internet content businesses any better than the networks — which have been flailing online for years — or one of the many independent, unprofitable sites fighting for scraps today? The only writer going on the record in this story is Aaron Mendelsohn, whose claim to fame is the “Air Bud” franchise. Another writer quoted, but not named, was the “primary writer on a TV show that was a blockbuster a decade ago.”

Most unintentionally funny quote: “We are one Connecticut hedge-fund checkbook, one Silicon Valley server farm and two creators away from having channels on YouTube, where the studios don’t own anything.” Hey, aren’t we all.

Related: Hollywood Writers Web-Bound? Don’t Quit Your Day Jobs
Hollywood Writer: Screw SAI, The Web Looks Great!

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