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Thursday February 25, 2010

‘The Economics of Digital Media’ Draws Record Audience

WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA , EASTLAUNCHES DIGITAL MEDIA EDUCATION PROGRAM–  More than 200 Attend First Seminar on the Economics of Digital Media –


NEW YORK CITY – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) launched its new digital media education program last night. More than 200 WGAE members and other writers jammed the Paley Center for Media on February 24th for the program’s inaugural seminar, “The Economics of Digital Media.” The seminar is the first in the WGAE’s educational curriculum, which is a key component of its recently announced Writers Guild 2.0 initiative.

“Our members do more and more work in digital media in both the entertainment and news businesses. We believe it’s our responsibility to help them adapt to the changing environment by presenting informed analysis of the digital world and offering skills training necessary to do their jobs more effectively,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “The turnout at our inaugural seminar proved our members are engaged in the digital arena and want to help shape the digital future. We are excited by the turnout at the event and the feedback we’ve received so far.”

Presenters during the evening were:

  • Anita Ondine – CEO of Seize the Media, which creates and finances transmedia entertainment properties that fully integrate feature films, TV and web series, mobile micro-narratives and gaming applications
  • Moshe “Mo” Koyfman – principal at Spark Capital, a venture capital firm focused on the media, entertainment and technology industries
  • Mark Lukasiewicz – vice president of NBC News specials and digital media

They offered advice and insight into the structure and economics of digital media from both the creative and business sides, including financing, distribution, and marketing. Some of their advice included:

  • Anita Ondine – We like to see transmedia as a bullet hole in glass. The core story fractures out in every direction, igniting the audience and generating value in new and exciting ways.
  • Mo KoyfmanThe Internet is a fundamentally democratizing platform where traditional gatekeepers are no longer at the seat of power. In this open distributed web, it is more important than ever for creators to own and build their personal brand, embrace new platforms to connect and communicate with their audience and capitalize on ubiquitous distribution. There will always be value to quality content, but it’s those with a unique voice that is heard  who will matter. And perhaps it’s time to rethink the value chain and all the folks taking a toll on the road between your content and your audience.
  • Mark Lukasiewicz – There’s no question that the TV business in general, and TV news in particular, is going through massive change and profound disruption. But it’s absurd to suggest that video storytelling is a dying craft, or that talented content creators won’t be valued in the changing media economy. Americans are consuming more video content than ever before, on more devices, in more places, and it’s never been more clear that quality counts…It’s a mistake to think all the rules of the game have changed. Facts still matter. Sharp analysis still matters. Strong narratives and compelling characters still matter. Almost all of the things that made great TV journalism a generation ago still make great video storytelling today.

Attendees participated in the conversation during a question and answer session, as well as through a real time conversation on Twitter at #digimedia.

“Economics of Digital Media” is the first in the WGAE’s recently announced Writers Guild 2.0 initiative, which includes seminars, classes, and group discussions for current and prospective members, a job training program, an upgraded web site, and sustained organizing efforts in digital media. Members and industry professionals will present the educational curriculum divided into two tracks: digital business issues and digital media skills. Since Writers Guild 2.0 was announced, the WGAE has signed more than 30 digital signatories as part of its expanded organizing effort and has established a digital caucus to provide a forum for current and potential members who create content for the Internet and mobile devices.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit


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