Director and producer Doug Liman announced today the formation of a new media company, "" which will create television style programming for alternative distribution. He will serve as co-owner of the venture with the support of a wide range of new media and business investors.
As a result of the agreement, Writers Guild members will be able to write, develop and create television programming for Jackson Bites for distribution on a wide range of new media outlets including the internet, set top boxes (STB's), cell phones and other other wireless devices, and via direct deals with satellite networks and cable companies.
"If the last strike is best remembered for the studios showing they could create programming without writers, this could be the strike where the writers show they can do it without the studios," said Liman. "We are a moment of opportunity in television where we have gone from three networks to six to a thousand channels to YouTube. All that matters is compelling programming in that environment – and compelling programming starts with the writer. Jackson Bites will afford writers the opportunity to create content that will be seen and enjoyed by audiences with or without the involvement of the television networks.”
"This agreement reflects precisely what we have held from the start: for writers, the Internet and new media are the future. Doug Liman's company makes that vision reality, with high-end, TV-quality programming created for alternative distribution," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.
"The agreement is further proof that our contract is not only fair and affordable, but it is also perfectly suited to the needs of a new generation of content providers," said Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West.
The deal between Jackson Bites and WGA is similar to the deals the WGA recently announced with United Artists, Worldwide Pants, the Weinstein Company, WRC, and addresses an important issue to writers — new media.
Liman, whose career was launched with the independent film "Swingers" and continued on to direct The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the upcoming film Jumper, sees this as the moment for new media. Jackson Bites is financed completely outside the studio system. Liman will not direct or produce any of the content in the new company. Jackson is Liman's 11 year-old sheep dog.