In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about the formation of the Streaming Innovation Alliance for studio streamers in Hollywood.
You can read the full column below.
The Streaming Innovation Alliance (“Alliance”) has been formed by the major studio streamers in Hollywood and will advocate in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures for policies that protect and benefit the industry. This news comes on the heels of the Writers Guild of America (“WGA”) reaching a tentative agreement to end the strike with the studios. It also follows news that Amazon Prime will be starting its Prime Membership with an ad-based Prime Video and the option to purchase a higher priced no-ad tier.
All three pieces of news are somewhat reflective and the result of the other. Meaning, Prime is raising its rates in anticipation of the WGA agreement knowing that the changes with the new deal will mean it is giving up larger pieces of the proverbial financial pie. The thought here is that with more ad dollars there will be more money to spread around to writers and actors. In many ways, studios and streamers will have to begin offering ad-based options to keep up with the cost increases.
The Streaming Innovation Alliance is also a response the power of the unions in Hollywood and the forthcoming WGA deal. The Alliance will look for ways to obtain beneficial legislation through filming tax credits and to help with labor stoppages. How far the Alliance gets in this legislative push or how much interest there will be on Capitol Hill and in capitols across America is yet to be seen.
The Alliance is the first official collective lobbying body for the studios streamers. It is possible that the head studio executives at Disney (Bob Iger), Netflix (Ted Sarandos), and Warner Bros. Discovery (David Zaslav) through their collective negotiating experiences with the WGA led to an expedience in launching a group that would look out for their interests. It is of note that Amazon, Apple, Roku, and Google/YouTube are not currently a part of the Alliance. However, their business models are different and broader distributors and more than content creation, while their diversified business have strong lobbying and advocacy resources already.
One senior advisor to the Alliance, retired Member of Congress Fred Upton (R-MI), said “The rise of innovative, new video streaming services is an American success story we should celebrate and encourage, not smother with obsolete and ill-fitting rules and regulations designed for completely different technology, products and business models.” Clearly, the Alliance will also be focused on making sure that the law keeps up with technology with regard to distribution, privacy, advertisements, and other matters. For example, artificial intelligence and streaming provide for great opportunities, but regulation through Congress and legislatures will be essential. Collaboration among the studios is also something that many predicted in Hollywood to occur to help with distribution and the move towards an Alliance supports that cause.
Lastly, it is further noteworthy that as studio streamers are collaborating, it will be interesting to follow the affects on labor. There seems to be a further push towards streaming sports content that compliments Warner Bros. Discovery’s announcement that live sports would be streamed on the Max platform, while Fox is doubling down on college sports with the highly anticipated expanded College Football Playoff in 2024, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are moving towards a new streaming platform as well. Streaming is on the rise and the studio streamers now have the advocacy arm to back it.
About Jeremy M. Evans:
Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.
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