Liman launches new co; inks deal with WGA


MUMBAI: Director and producer Doug Liman announced today the formation of a new media company, Jackson Bites, 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. Liman also announced that the new company has entered into an agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), effective immediately.

As a result of the agreement, WGA members will be able to write, develop, and create programming for Jackson Bites for distribution on a wide range of new media outlets, including the Internet, set-top boxes, cell phones, and other wireless devices, and via direct deals with satellite networks and cable companies.

“If the last strike is best remembered for the studios attempting to show 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 at a moment of opportunity in television where we have gone from three networks to six, and from a handful of channels to a thousand and YouTube. In that environment, what matters is compelling programming – and compelling programming starts with the writer.”

“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 Writers Guild of America, East president Michael Winship.

“We are happy to reach an agreement with Doug Liman that is perfectly suited to the needs of a new generation of content providers,” said Writers Guild of America, West president Patric M. Verrone.

The deal between Jackson Bites and WGA, which was negotiated by Liman and his lawyer Alan Grodin with the WGA is similar to the deals the WGA recently announced with United Artists, Worldwide Pants, the Weinstein Company, MRC, and Spyglass Entertainment, and addresses an important issue to writers – new media.