Writers in talks to launch web start-ups


A group of striking writers are working on plans to produce programming for the Internet independent of Hollywood studios/AMPTP. They’re turning to venture capitalists, looking to circumvent Hollywood and reach viewers directly online, reported The LA Times.

“At least seven groups are planning to form Internet-based businesses that, if successful, could create an alternative economic model to the one at the heart of the walkout,” said the story.

Some high-profile writers and technologists are trying to create a collaborative studio they hope would be officially sanctioned by WGA. They want to build on the popularity of strike-related videos on the guild-inspired blog UnitedHollywood, YouTube and elsewhere.

Three of the groups are working on ventures that would function much like United Artists, the production company created 80 years ago by Charlie Chaplin and other top stars who wanted to break free from the studios.

A handful of sites have already received venture backing, including FunnyorDie.com, co-founded Will Ferrell, and MyDamnChannel.com, launched by former MTV executive Rob Barnett. MyDamnChannel pays for the production of original content by a handful of artists and splits ad revenue with them.