Notebook: Streaming Away
by Ann Kjellberg, editor
Picket line formed by writers that are on strike in New York City. Outside on location of the Marvel Studios Disney+, May 10, 2023. Wikimedia Commons
The Writers Guild of America, the union of writers for television and movies, is entering its second month of strike for fair compensation and protection from displacement by language-predicting artificial intelligence (their demands). Like journalists, their field suffers from the obsolescence of two things: a discrete product that consumers are accustomed to paying for (movies and newspapers/magazines) and advertising. Like journalism, film and TV experienced a delirious moment of access—the dawn of the internet in the case of journalism and the age of streaming in the case of film and TV—followed by a reckoning, in which the industry’s leaders struggled to find a viable revenue model in an environment in which the audience had become accustomed to getting more than it was paying for.