Writers are cutting their own deals to develop and own content. Letterman, Leno, Stewart and Colbert are going back on the air. IATSE rails against the timing and strategy of the WGA. The DGA charts its own path. The WGA's rock star leadership is unfocussed and inept.
Things are looking good for the producers. So what should the AMPTP do now?
I gave a speech to 500 businesspeople recently. I asked for a show of hands of how many knew of the writers' strike. About 100 raised their hands. I then asked how many people had heard of the AMPTP. Not one hand was raised. Nobody outside of LA. and NYC knows who they are, and nobody cares.
When I was involved in the Wal-Mart wars, I often thought that the best thing Wal-Mart could have done was keep their mouth shut and not respond. By responding, they gave their critics more stature, prolonged the fight, and made things personal. Wal-Mart and their PR firm decided to play like Lee Atwater, and this produced publicity gaffes that would not have surfaced otherwise. Like me. Wal-Mart put me on CNN and I claimed their management was "like Inspector Clouseau." Doh! You know your PR is bad when Ron Galloway is a major part of your strategy.
The AMPTP's website has an "open letter" to the entertainment industry on its front page, signed by the heads of its eight largest production entities. Absolutely nobody cares about this letter, except the eight people who signed it. The only people reading it are WGA members. And it just deepens their anger, and creates a wider space between the two parties.
The AMPTP comments that "working families" are hurting due to the strike, thereby trying to spin a class angle on this. Ninja, please.
The AMPTP has the upper hand right now not because they are so good, but because the WGA's leadership is so bad. You don't conduct a public relations war when there is no "public" to "relate" to. The AMPTP should stop their PR releases, erase their website in favor of a simple logo and an email address. And shut their mouths. Talk to the WGA, not the public. The public is playing Guitar Hero and trying to find a Wii.
Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.