Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2007)—Screen Actors Guild member Phil Rosenthal, creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, testified today on behalf of SAG and the Writers Guild of America, West at a Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing titled “Digital Future of the United States: Part V: The Future of Video.” The subcommittee is part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The purpose of the hearing was to highlight the rapid rise of digital technologies; examine existing laws and policies and emphasize how the changing marketplace affects consumers. As part of his testimony regarding the future of television in this increasingly digital age, Rosenthal discussed the subjects of new distribution technologies, independent content and product integration.
“Actors are subjected to forced endorsement when their character must extol the virtues of a product within a television program—a practice that can seriously impact an actor’s ability to get endorsement and commercial deals,” said Rosenthal as part of his testimony. “For the public, product integration exploits the emotional connection that viewers have with shows and their characters in order to sell merchandise. It also raises the serious issue of adequate disclosure.”
Rosenthal’s testimony was heard along with that of executives from TiVo, YouTube, Disney, Qualcomm, HDNet and Sling Media. The hearing took place at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.