SAG CIVIL WAR RAGES ON
The quarterly magazine distributed to members of the Screen Actors Guild has become the latest battlefield of the union's civil war. In the current issue, SAG President Alan Rosenberg accuses the moderate United for Strength faction of sabotaging negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. "I truly believe we would have had a deal last summer if this faction had not undermined our efforts and de-leveraged us against our real opponent: management," Rosenberg wrote. He wrote that the decision of the union's board to fire Doug Allen as the union's executive director and chief negotiator represented the union's "darkest hour and the day in history that Screen Actors Guild lost residuals and meaningful wages and working conditions for new media." Paul Christie, president of SAG's New York division, fired back that Alan's behavior had humiliated the union. "None of us have taken any pleasure in watching Alan self-destruct publicly," he wrote. "These are times in your life you hope you have one decent friend left who will tell you 'Enough, stop, you are destroying your personal and professional reputation, STOP.' Instead Alan continues to act out in Nero-esque proportions while the Guild burns around him."
YOUTUBE: THE BIGGER IT GETS, THE MORE IT LOSES
YouTube's recent decision to court producers of professional longform content, including movie studios and TV networks, may be driven at least in part by the fact that the short videos that presently dominate the site not only don't cover its expenses but actually contribute to its losses as more and more of them are posted. A new study concludes that YouTube spends $2.64 million a day -- or $753 million a year -- in order to serve its 75 billion video streams to 375 million unique visitors annually. The study, by Internet Evolution, which cited cost estimates from Bear Stearns, comScore, Credit Suisse, and YouTube owner Google, observed that YouTube's annual revenue was estimated to be $90 million by Bear Stearns and $240 million by Credit Suisse. "Depending on whose version of revenues you accept, Google is losing anywhere from $513 million to $663 million annually on YouTube," Internet Evolution's David Silversmith wrote. Put another way, he noted, Google loses more than a dollar a year for each YouTube visitor.
FRENCH GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE 3-STRIKES BILL A SECOND TIME
The government of French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is planning a new effort to push its "three strikes" anti-piracy legislation through Parliament. An earlier bill, regarded as a shoo-in, was rejected last week when members of Sarkozy's UMP party failed to show up in force for a vote. The proposed law would create what has been described as a French Internet police force that would track down suspected pirates, then turn over information about their misdeeds to their Internet service providers, who would then cut off their service. The law would require that the offenders pay for their Internet connection even after their service is shut down.
IF IT'S FRIDAY, IT MUST BE WEDNESDAY
Warner Bros. may extend its opening weekends for some of its films to Wednesday during the summer, the studio's distribution chief indicated Tuesday. In announcing that the studio now plans to release Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday, July 15, instead of Friday, July 17, Dan Fellman told the Association Press, "Every day the kids are out of school in summer is just like and extra Saturday."
MICHIGAN HELPS LAUNCH NEW STUDIO IN SUBURBAN DETROIT
Michigan is not only affording tax breaks to Hollywood movie producers, but it is also helping out entrepreneurs planning to build a $146-million film studio in the Detroit suburb of Allen Park. The Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday that the first phase of the project, a technical center, will cost $55 million and is due to be completed by fall. When the Unity Studios project is completed it will offer an array of movie and TV production services, the Freep announced. It is also taking applications for a "retraining program" aimed at bringing many laid-off autoworkers back into the work force. "This announcement amounts to an economic development blockbuster for the city, Wayne County and state," Allen Park Mayor Gary Burtka told the newspaper shortly after the state's Economic Growth Authority approved a state tax credit worth about $2.8 million for the project.
WRITER CLAIMS GIBSON LIED TO HIM ABOUT PASSION COST
Benedict Fitzgerald, who wrote Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ (with the aid of a few apostles), has amended his lawsuit against Gibson, who, he claims, lied to him when he said that the movie would carry a budget of some $4-7 million and asked Fitzgerald to take a cut in his regular writer's fee. Fitzgerald made his original allegation against Gibson in February. He is now demanding to see the accounting records for the production, claiming that Gibson's latest assertion that the film cost around $30 million to make is also incorrect and too low. Meanwhile, reports concerning Gibson's impending divorce have indicated that he earned more than $600 million from Passion of the Christ.