Unions and guilds have wrangled with the major studios over payment fees and residuals for that strange new beast called "New Media," (internet downloads, streaming video, etc. All on the ubiquitous Worldwide Web.) They didn't solve all the contractual problems in the 2008 negotiations (although they made a start) but it's definitely a part of entertainment delivery that's hear to stay.
Here's one example of what toons in the New Media Age are about:
Warner Brothers has been trying to innovate in digital entertainment.
Housed in a scrappy little division called Warner Premiere ... [t]he latest project – a series of 10 animated videos called “The Adventures of One eskimO” (the artistic capitalization is theirs) – arrived on digital platforms like iTunes and WBShop.com on Monday. The “visual album” has one video for each song on the debut CD of a British band called One Eskimo (
... Warner thinks the content has potential – maybe the foundation of a series on Adult Swim? – and hopes to incubate the idea online. “It’s definitely got characters and story potential that we would hope to see grow beyond digital,” said Diane Nelson, the president of Warner Premiere ...
Our friendly entertainment conglomerates are working to stay ahead of the curve in the brave new digital age. They are, in a word, throwing many things against the marketplace wall and looking to see what sticks.
One problem: The congloms haven't (yet) figured out how to make significant money on the internet. The iTunes download strategy hasn't borne much fruit; paid downloads are declining while ad-supported streaming is up. The difficulty with the streaming business model is that ad fees, according to the studios, are paltry.
If the people I talk to are right, companies haven't figured out any kind of stable, reliable business model with new media. They are experimenting and hoping for the goose to flap down and lay several golden eggs (instead of just, you know, eggs.) Animation is one of the trains on which the multi-nationals will be riding; it's important for creators ("the employees") of this new product to be fairly compensated.
Of course that's going to be happening, right?