The Walt Disney Company has reached a deal with the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Director’s Guild of America which will enable ABC to bring Lost Video Diaries to mobile phones by the end of 2006 through Verizon. Actors and directors will receive residuals at rates similar to pay-TV rates covered in their unions’ master contracts.
The expansion of ABC’s hit television series had been on hold since November 2005 over disputes recording compensation for new digital distribution platforms. Although the deal only covers ABC’s Lost project, some are hailing it as a template for future agreements which will enable traditional television content to more easily cross into new digital media. Lost Video Diaries is expected to be converted to other delivery platforms as well as mobile phones.
Although other networks (notably Fox, with its series of mobisodes based on its series 24) have produced content for mobile phones, those efforts are independent productions which don’t involve the cast, writers, producers, sand directors from the original primetime series. ABC wanted Lost’s principle cast and creators to be involved in the production of Lost Video Diaries, and so chose to negotiate with the actors’ and directors’ guilds to map out compensation and rights. The mobisodes are expected to go into production when Lost’s third season begins photography in Hawaii in the July-August timeframe.
New digital media formats for television programming