Monday, December 10, 2007
Carol Barbee: Writer's Strike
"If the writers strike continues until January, it will endanger the $9 billion TV upfront market.
Marketers and agencies have tried for years to change the way TV time is bought and sold, arguing that committing such a large portion of their budgets ahead of the start of the fall season no longer makes sense. And it's looking increasingly like the Writers Guild of America strike could be the catalyst for retooling the annual May upfront process.
Carol Barbee, executive producer of cult favorite "Jericho" on CBS, said while her show would only benefit (a full season is already in the can), the damage could wreak havoc beyond the upfront. "If this goes past January, [the networks] have lost the entire development season, which means that they've lost all the new shows and the midseason replacements."
"The strike could accelerate recognition that consumers don't "revolve around prime time and the networks' new seasons anymore," said Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer for WPP Group's Group M media-buying consortium. With people using DVRs and watching programming online, a better system of buying and selling needs to be put in place. If the strike were to help people see that, he said, "that might actually be a silver lining."