From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michel Norris.


And I'm Melissa Block.

Striking screenwriters are drawing sympathy, not only from their unionized colleagues, such as actors, but also from a huge percentage of American consumers. At least that's what a new study from Pepperdine University found.

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates reports.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: For almost two weeks now, Hollywood writers have been picketing on the streets of Los Angeles and New York. News outlets have had plenty of footage not only of the striking writers but of high-profile celebrities like actors Robin Williams and Julia Louis-Dreyfus walking the picket lines in solidarity. Some writers have kept their chops up by posting videos that outline their grievances on Internet outlets like YouTube.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Unidentified Man: Besides, media conglomerates say it's too soon to put a dollar value on Internet content. They say it's - what's that? Viacom is suing YouTube for $1 billion for using its content online? A billion?

BATES: That war for the public's attention and sympathy seems to be paying off. The Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University conducted a nationwide survey to see where Americans sympathies lay. The study found 64 percent supported the writers while only four percent supported the producers.

Economist David Smith at Pepperdine worked on the study.

Dr. DAVID SMITH (Economist, Pepperdine University): I think that suggests that the writers have been very successful in getting their message out the first week and garnered some public opinion.

BATES: But if the dispute drags on, Smith says, public support for the writers could curdle. Already several primetime sitcoms and almost all late-night talk shows have shut down production.

Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.

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