Netflix Pays Top Dollar

Success as a TV creative means more than just knowing how to write. It also means knowing what to do with your creations, which starts with deciding whom to take them to.

Right now, it’s looking more and more like Netflix is the in, hip, and trendy TV place. Because there can be no question that Netflix is out to be the largest supplier of TV and film product in our corner of the universe – and perhaps beyond:

from FILMTAKE.COM

Perhaps the biggest revelation from last [Netflix]’s earning call with CEO Reed Hastings is the admission that Netflix is “ready to pay top-of-the-market prices for second-run content.”

Netflix will spend $12 billion on licensing and producing content in 2019, a doubling from just 20 months ago. This massive spending increase is largely fueled by junk bonds on the backside of an astronomical stock valuation.

The licensing fees paid by Netflix will spike this year to stave off rising competition from Hulu, Amazon and new streaming contenders NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, and Disney.

Increased competition is creating enormous opportunities for content creators and rights holders to licensing content to more streaming services while demanding larger payments. Get access to highly sought-after licensing rates and terms from Netflix. [Learn more]

Competitor, Partner… Both?

Last week, NBCUniversal announced a new ad-supported streaming service to launch in 2020. Decisions about licensing content to other providers will be made on a case-by-case basis.

NBCUniversal has an ongoing licensing agreement with Netflix until 2021.

Likewise, WarnerMedia extended the availability of Friends to Netflix despite having the opportunity to pull the popular show for use on its own streaming service launching later this year. [Read more]

These new services being launched by WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal risk irrelevancy by continuing to accept licensing fees from Netflix.

Disney is the only provider pulling all its content from Netflix, including titles from Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Animation, Buena Vista and Pixar. Disney’s content exclusion will coincide with the launch of its new streaming service Disney+.

A Lead Too Great

At the end of 2018, Netflix has 58 million subscribers in the United States. With approximately 115 million total households, the company’s reach appears to be nearing saturation….

Read it all at FILMTAKE.COM

Must-Know Legal Tips for TV and Screenwriters

“I’m a writer,” you say. “Why do I need to know a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo?”

The answer, in the proverbial nutshell, is: “Because if you don’t know how to protect yourself from the very beginning, you’re gonna get screwed.”

Here’s what we’re talking about:

by Danny Jiminian, Esq.

As if navigating the fundamentals of scriptwriting to create a great script was not hard enough, you also have to make sure you know how to copyright a screenplay and avoid certain other legal pitfalls.

It is very easy to overlook these risky liabilities because you are so invested in getting your characters, your dialogue, your plot and so on, just right.

Since you probably don’t have a studio department that will clear your script for you before it’s too late, I wanted to give you five tips that can help you avoid all the liabilities that can come back to haunt you later.

1. How To Copyright A Script

Always register your script with the US Copyright Office. While the Writers Guild of America (East/West) serves the primary purpose of providing writers with a “public claim of authorship,” federal U.S. Copyright registration offers that and two additional benefits.

Federal copyright registration lasts longer: WGA branches keep your material on file for either five or ten years, and longer if you pay for renewals.

However, U.S. screenplay copyright registration lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

You can file a stronger copyright infringement claim. If your copyright is registered BEFORE the infringement occurs, you can seek statutory damages and reimbursement of legal fees in addition to the basic “actual damages and infringer’s profits” when you sue.

This matters because it is difficult to determine the value of a copyright and its infringement so “actual damages and infringer’s profits” might not amount to much.

In that situation, a victory in court without an award for statutory damages and legal fees would make you seriously reconsider the cost of suing even if you should in principle.

And if you haven’t heard it by now, DON’T DO THE POOR MAN’S COPYRIGHT (i.e. mailing your script to yourself and then storing it, unopened).

Trust me — it’s worthless and won’t hold up in court. Get yourself a proper script copyright and rest easy at night.

2. Get A Collaborators Agreement

If you’re co-writing a screenplay, write up a collaborator’s agreement with any and all writers you are writing with.

Too many creatives, from producers to directors to writers, find out too late the importance of having things in writing.

Oral contracts are enforceable but difficult to enforce. If you want to be a professional in the film industry then treat every aspect of your working relationship with the seriousness it deserves….

Read it all at SCRIPTREADERPRO.COM

More About ‘You’

Time now for another perspective on a not-so-little series called You, which not only has become a streaming TV giant, it also catapulted last week’s TVWriter™ article called From the Cable Graveyard to Netflix Darling: Something Amazing Happened to ‘YOU’ to the top of our list of visitors’ fave posts.

Here’s the skinny:

What Made the TV Show ‘You’ a Hit?’ Netflix
by John Koblin

Throughout the fall, the producer Greg Berlanti was trying to save his cable drama “You.”

The series had premiered on Lifetime in September, but its viewership was virtually nonexistent: roughly 650,000 people were tuning in to each episode of the soapy stalker thriller, starring Penn Badgley. Even Mr. Berlanti, one of the most successful and prolific producers in television thanks to shows like “Riverdale,” “Arrow” and “Blindspot,” conceded in an interview that “barely anybody watched” it.

He made repeated calls to Lifetime executives, asking for patience and making his case for a second season. It wasn’t enough. In early December, Lifetime announced it was finished with “You.”

But right after Christmas, something happened. “You” started lighting up social media. People were searching for it online. Entertainment sites like The Ringer were writing about the show.

What changed? It began streaming on Netflix.

Mr. Berlanti heard from family and friends about how much they were enjoying his new show, ignoring the fact that it had debuted months earlier.

“It’s very often in direct proportion to how young they are,” he said. “The younger they are, the more they discuss the show as though it had never existed before Dec. 26.

Last week, Netflix declared “You” had drawn the sort of audience to make it a “huge hit.” The streaming service said that “You” was on track to be watched by 40 million households within its first four weeks on the service.

The Netflix viewership disclosure — one of the few times the service has made those numbers public, seven years after it began airing original series — set off something of an earthquake in the industry

Could the numbers be believed? Could it be possible that a show that premiered on cable television may as well not have existed until Netflix — which now has 139 million paying subscribers, including 58.5 million in the United States — came around to stream it? Netflix is already a television network and a movie studio. Was it one step closer to effectively becoming television itself…?

Read it all at NYTIMES.COM

Urgent Message for Past, Present and Future DOCTOR WHO fans!

In other words, this one’s for everybody…because eventually everybody falls under the Doctor’s spell, one way – and one Doctor – or another:

2019 is the Time to Start Listening to Big Finish’s ‘Doctor Who’ Audio Dramas
by James Whitbrook

With “Resolution” done and dusted, we are officially all out of Doctor Who on television until 2020. Whovians are pretty used to waiting huge lengths of time to see new episodes—like, say, that 16-year gap after the show was cancelled—but if you’re aching to get something Who in your brain, the perfect opportunity lies ahead of you: audio dramas.

See, 2019 isn’t just the Year of No Season 12, it’s actually the 20th anniversary of Big Finish’s line of Doctor Who audio dramas. After kicking off on July 19, 1999 with “The Sirens of Time”—a story that bombastically crossed over the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctors (and was…mostly kind of only decent, but hey, it was a start!)—Big Finish has spent two decades expanding across all of Time and Space with a truly remarkable amount of Doctor Who adventures, covering different Doctors, companions, and spin-offs.

It’s led to a true wealth of opportunities for fans who’ve never dipped into the world of audio dramas, regardless of what their favorite kind of Doctor Who is. Hell, what other franchise in the world outside of maybe Star Wars can say it took one-off guest characters and gave them their own spinoff series 33 years after their one and only story aired on TV? Big Finish’s love for as many corners of Doctor Who as it can get its hands on runs deep. But what makes 2019 the perfect time outside of the fact it’s a special anniversary?

We’ve recommended Big Finish multiple times in the past, and a lot of the reasons why are still relevant now, simply because those audio dramas still exist. And it’s fun to recommend it leading up to the anniversary because the company is doing a ton of celebratory stories for it. They include “The Legacy of Time,” an expansive six-part adventure that unites six incarnations of the Doctor with a whole host of characters from across both the classic and modern eras of the show. But it’s also just that, especially in the last few years or so, Big Finish’s Doctor Who offerings have expanded and exploded in a way that makes them even more relevant to an even wider contingent of Doctor Who fans….

Read it all at i09.GIZMONDO.COM

A Message from TVWriter™’s First Contributing Editor, Herbie J Pilato

by Herbie J Pilato

Last Friday was the official pub-date of my new book, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, on the 2nd Anniversary of Mary’s passing.

Below are two excerpts of the book; one from the Television Academy and Emmys.com; the other in Closer Magazine.

And on the left is a photo expressing my utter delight of seeing this book come into being.

I hope you enjoy the pic and the excerpts.

With my smile,

Herbie J

The Television Academy/Emmys.com excerpt of MARY
http://www.emmys.com/news/online-originals/mary-mary-tyler-moore-story

The Closer Magazine excerpt of MARY
https://www.closerweekly.com/posts/mary-tyler-moore-new-biography/

NOTE FROM LB: On the not-so-off chance you’d like to buy Herbie’s great new read, is available at Amazon.Com, RIGHT HERE