Tag Archives: jonathan handel

Syndicate This!

"Hollywood . . ." Courtesy of Epzibah

DealFatigue is now being featured on entmedialaw.com, a website that aggregates legal and business writing specific to the entertainment industry.

A little less than a month since its launch, entmedialaw.com is already bringing an impressive network of people together who focus on entertainment law, deal making and the business culture of the entertainment business including Gordon Firemark, Jonathan Handel, bizmedialaw.net and feeds from The Legal Satyricon, Anne Thompson and others.

It takes a lot of web surfing to keep up with the ever changing legal landscape of the entertainment business but entmedialaw.com is poised to bring all of it to you in one place.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Internet Delivery Now Streeting With Traditional Home Video


Jonathan Handel’s blog alerted me to the pending “day and date” release of the “The Bourne Ultimatum” on both DVD and via Internet delivery on December 18th. As Handel and the LA Times report, this will be the first day and date release of a motion picture on video in both Internet/electronic media and physical media. Usually (if there is such a thing given the pace of things now), electronic delivery of a motion picture streets with the pay-per-view or pay-TV windows.

Simultaneous Internet/Home Video release dates are consistent with current deal terms and those of older vintage that producers and distributors routinely negotiate for home video rights on motion pictures. The difference now is the form of delivery; physical media vs. electronic media. Although the revenue splits on existing deals might get tricky depending on the terms negotiated, the business is already acclimated to evolving home video revenue structures having moved from the traditional royalty formula to revenue sharing. While Handel correctly raises the prospect of brick and mortar retailer resistance, I suspect the issue of greater impact will come from producers, actors, financiers and other profit participants on motion pictures. Once they become aware of the more favorable cost differential between video tape manufacturing costs and broadband delivery they will expect a payment structure that accounts for the savings much as the WGA is demanding now.

“Drinking From The Trough Of Distrust”


That’s what I said as I cautioned the rep on the other side of recent negotiations unrelated to the WGA strike talks. I was sharing my very real concern that our negotiations were polarizing our respective clients and actually making it harder, if not impossible for us to close a deal.

Strike negotiators for both sides are well advised to conduct themselves accordingly. Dave McNary wrote in Variety that talks tanked late on Friday “after two weeks of bitter and unproductive negotiations” with no real sign of when or whether they will continue any time soon. Sounds pretty grim but maybe a holiday hiatus from hostilities (and several good nights’ of sleep, I suspect) will make for more productive negotiations. For a thorough breakdown of the issues, check here and here.

Prior to Friday’s “cratering,” Robert King, a member of the WGA Negotiating Committee, blogged prosaic on the state of negotiations and the current mindset of the parties this way:

Part of the problem of negotiations—and especially this negotiation—is that both sides tend to interpret the contractual proposals and counter-proposals in one way: as an attempt to fuck them. This is complicated by the fact that sometimes management’s proposals are designed to do exactly that; and sometimes they aren’t designed to do that, but might be used later by less enlightened souls to do that.

So dialogue, in a smaller room, with fewer people, and less of the theatrics of negotiations, allows everyone to discover what wasn’t designed to fuck; or was designed to protect against being fucked by someone else and has only the appearance of a personal fuck; what was inelegantly put; what has unintended consequences, etc. It’s also a place where language can be designed that satisfies everyone’s fears of being fucked.

In other words, sometimes there is the illusion of being farther apart than we actually are; and smaller side bar dialogue helps us discover if that’s indeed the case.

And then again there is just plain old being far apart.

Hopefully, this breather will allow cooler heads to prevail at the negotiating table. The studios and networks will start feeling the pinch from dwindling project reserves and the first stirrings of pilot season. By mid January, mounting financial pressures from holiday purchases and the lack of work will compel writers to return to the bargaining table. Maybe then, the parties will find creative ways to resolve the issues amicably and resourcefully.

And then again there is just plain old being too far apart.