Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Keeping actors expendible I wrote about how the recording industry cartel relied on draconian labor contracts to earn profit once their investment in the "unknown talent" had turned that commodity into a "star" (that could now demand more of the profit). The incomparably excellent Surowiecki writes about how franchise shows (like Law & Order) keep the bargaining power of actors down by not creating stars (like Frasier). And while franchise producer Dick Wolf claims the success of shows lie in the writing, I doubt writers manage to appropriate much of the value a hit franchise creates either, because faceless writers are as interchangable as ensemble actors (UK TV might be different here, as comedy writers in particular are quite well known). Thus successful producers (and studios) would keep most of the value as they own the franchise. Clearly this is a better system than the indentured servitude demanded by the recording industry.

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