This has to be one of the most ironic of ironies, right? The WGA is striking the AMPTP about Internet residuals, among other things, and are doing an excellent job of using the Internet to support their efforts. You’ve got to admit, no matter which side of the picket line you may find yourself supporting, that the writers are winning when it comes to using the Web for publicity.
There are a number of great blogs covering the strike, including Variety’s Scribe Vibe. The standout, however, is the unofficial United Hollywood blog, formed by a group of WGA strike captains. In addition to posts and open letters by various WGA members, they share messages and pictures they receive from fans. They’ve got badges, like the one seen here, for supporters to place on their websites, and a ton of links to other related sites, including a site called Strike Swag that is selling solidarity bracelets and tees, and even mentions plans for a men’s bikini brief (lord, please end the strike before it comes to that!).
And then there’s the WGA’s video coverage on YouTube. wgaamerica is posting daily videos of strike activity and getting lots of viewers. Even Ask the Ninja has joined in the conversation, in his own unique way.
The writers clearly understand the power of the Internet to promote their product — in this case, their position and the fight for their livelihood — to the public.
I’ve been looking for a similar Web publicity blitz from the AMPTP’s point of view. My search results haven’t turned up much. The official AMPTP’s website has put up a FAQ to address questions related to the strike, and they do appear to update their “breaking news” section to state their position, but that doesn’t pack the same publicity punch. I haven’t been able to find any good pro-AMPTP blogs. If anyone knows of some, please post the links in comments. It strikes (no pun intended) me very odd that the AMPTP hasn’t taken their position on the argument over residuals for digital downloads, pay-per-view, and Internet streaming, publicly, to the source, and to their ultimate audience — on the Internet.
It begs the question: who has a better understanding of the value and reach, not to mention the potential revenue, of the Internet?