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Mar 6 - Film and Television in the Age of Media Conglomerates (1980 – 2013) .pdf

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FILM 2401
Joseph Kispal- Kovacs

March 6 - Film and Television in theAge of Media Conglomerates (1980 – 2013) Case Study: Nicaragua,Afghanistan and Iraq and The War on Terror - treatment of nicaraguan revolution of 79 in american media - revolution against corrupt dictatorship anastasio somoza was led by left wing sandinistas, dictator supported by US, made new government in Nicaragua the enemy - july 79 rebels take every major town, somoza fled the country fearing he’d be tried for his crimes - looted countries treasury for years to be able to retire nicely in miami - yearlong citizen uprising across the country - revolutionary coalition that replaced somoza regime inherited a country that had been ruined by the dictator - american government of jimmy carter remained neutral on change in government - after reagan was elected, american government began to make serous efforts to get rid of what it perceived to be another marxist government within its sphere of influence - secretly funding a contra army which made raids into the country from bases in honduras and const a rica (friendly to the US) - Congress unwillingness to support and fund regains policy, president and his advisors worked around the problem of selling arms to the islamic government of iran (its enemy) and sending the proceeds to the contras — iran contra affair - contra attacks killed civilians and forced Nicaraguan government to divert needed resources to its military and away from needed economic reconstruction - nicaraguans held an election in 84 which left wing sandinistas won - 90s liberal party won where first female president in the americas - sandinistas reelected in 2006
 Readings: Textbook Chapter 19 - practice of large media companies operating in a single medium has come to an end - 1980s film and tv companies are now part of larger corporations that are involved in numerous commercial media forms - not possible before reagan administration in 81 - american antimonopoly law had been used vigorously by justice department to prosecute those companies that engaged in anti competitive practices—provision of sherman anti trust act of 1890 - late 19th century americans had large fears about powerful institutions over which they had little control - used by fcc to break up NBC in 1940 to open up competition in broadcasting industry - fcc regularly intervened whenever monopolistic tendencies appeared - reagan appointed mark fowler as chairman of FCC - new part of newly emerging neo liberal political consensus in the western world - politicians who bought in believed that markets were the solution to everything - regulation of corporations should be minimal or non existent - fowler repealed the fairness doctrine—insisting broadcasters cover more than one side of controversial issues - he also removed roes that prevented ownership of more than one station in a given area - corporate mergers — capital cities boughtABC which was then bought by disney - rca was bought by general electric - wanted to create a small number of media corporations that dominant marketplace - 9 largest: news corporation, time warner, walt disney, viacom, cbs, bertelsmann, nbc universal-comcast, sony corporation of america and google - news corporations has wall street journal, other newspapers, magazines, books, fox an some sports teams - time warner:AOL, home box office, new line cinema, time inc, time warner cable, turner broadcasting system, 50% of The CW network, warner bros, cnn, cartoon network - walt disney company is largest of these conglomerates: abc tv network ( abc family, kids, disney channel, espy, espn2, walt disney studios, walt disney parks and resorts, disney tv, disney tv animation, disney records, disney pictures, pixar, muppets holding company, disney store, etc - viacom owns viacome international, paramount pictures, dream works, republic pictures, mtv films, nickelodeon movies, comesy central, bet, spike, tv land, nick at night, nick jr, teenick, vh1, mtv2, cmt, dreamworks - cbs (owned by same person who owns viacom): cvs radio & tv network, 50% cw network, showtime, the movie channel - nbc universal-comcast is newest company formed in dec 2009—internet and cable tv, nbc news, cnbc, msnbc, a&e, telemundo - google —google books, google earth, youtube, search engine - while consumers have a greater number of choices in most of these media, they need only turn to a small number of companies to find them - results in a concentrated media ownership unprecedented in american history - hundreds of channels to choose from but owned by eight listed above - mass media serves as a system for communicating messages to population—in a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda - differentiates it from media system that operated like soviet union or china that use state monopoly in the media - industries and can direct the media to carry out the wishes of the political elite - the process isn't straightforward in free market based capitalist countries where media is largely privately owned. five major institutional filters that affect the content of the news found int he corporate commercial mass media: - the size concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass media firms - advertising as the primary income source of the mass media - reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and experts funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power - flak—means of discipling the media - anticommunisim as a national religion nd control mechanism - raw material of news must pass through filters leaving only cleansed residue fit to print Schatz in Film Reader - paramount and warner bros had golden age in 30s and 40s still dominate the so called new hollywood as well - in hollywoods classical era, studios were geared to produce a singular commodity, feature film and control a single culture industry - new hollywood studios operate with an increasingly diversified globalized entertainment industry and represent only one component of the vast media conglomerates which own them—media giants like viacome, sony, news corp, time warner - studios have been have been geared to produce not simply films but franchises blockbuster scale hits which can be systematically reproduced in a range of media forms - ideal movie today is box office smash, two hour promotion for multimedia product line designed with structure of both parent company and diversified media marketplace in mind - multipurpose entertainment machines breed movie sequels and tv series, music videos, soundtrack albums, video games, theme park rides, graphic novels, comic books and array of licensed tie-ins and brand name consumer products - jurassic park — video game and ride were hits - movie, video game, theme park rides are related as iterations of entertainment super text, multimedia narrative forms which can be expanded and exploited almost ad infinitum given the size and diversity of today globalized entertainment industry - essential UR text is the hollywood produced block buster film - global entertainment industry has reached a certain equilibrium over the past decade, production and calculated reformulation of these block buster films into multimedia franchisees has been more systematic - the studio system in the old hollywood - 20s-40s studio system referred to factory based mode of film production, to the vertical integration of production with film distribution and exhibition - big five integrated major studios —-mgm, warner bros, 20th cent fox, paramount and rko—rules industry not only because they produced top films but because they collectively controlled movie marketplace - big 5 distributed own films and ran own theatres chains - owned 1/6th of nations movie theatres in 30s and 40s, it included most important first run theatres (downtown theatre palaces screening ono top features, seated thousands, and generated half the total industry revenues) - major studios couldn't produce enough films to satisfy audience demand in an era when up to 100 mil persons per week went to movies - output supplemented by universal, columbia and united artists (major minors) —top talent but didn't own own theatres - poverty row studios —monogram, republic - depression and ww2 led government to sanction the studios monopolistic control of film industry - ensured revenue flow and financial leverage for studios to maintain factory operations; enabled them to maintain - a contract system—kept crucial filmmaking talents at all levels directly tied to company b movies compromised up t o half of total out opt of major studios like fox and warners in the 30s - key commodity in classical hollywood was routine star genre formulation—mgm costume romance with great garbo, warners gangster saga with james cagney, fox swashbuckler with tyrone power etc - trademark star genre formulas gave each studio means of stabilizing marketing and sales of bringing efficiency and economy to top feature production and of distinguishing company’s output from its competitors - studio executives were chief architects of hollywoods golden age - hollywood studio system flourished during ww2 then collapsed bc: - supreme courts 48 paramount decree—antitrust ruling effectively disintegrated studio system by forcing studios to sell their theatre chains - emergence of tv, transforming american media landscape - suburban migration and baby boom—watching tv replaced going to the movies as nation dominant form of - habituated mass mediated narrative entertainment studios recognized that without their theatre chains they lacked cash flow to sustain their factory system and contract talent - turned production and exhibition to financing and distribution - strategy to lead studio facilities to growing independent producers to provide portion of films financing in return for distribution rights - blockbuster mentality —release fewer bigger films (wide screen Technicolor) was ore practical and profitable and efficient of competing with TV - warners was most aggressive in its tv pursuits and by 61 was supplying 1/3rd of abcs prime time schedule - hollywood was turning out more hours of tv programming than feature films, reactivated b-movie production process to feed tbs voracious appetite for programming - 60s networks started running feature films in prime time - what was once vaults of useless old movies were now libraries whose values increased each year - studios were foundering in 60s - continued erosion of movie attendance - nature and composition of the audience —politically hip, disaffected youth - succession of big budget flops trying to replicate sound of music - surge of unprecedented surge in film imports (2/3rd of total US releases) - deepening movie industry recession left studio ripe for takeover in late 60s - studios were valued more for film libraries and tv series production than filmmaking operations - into the new hollywood - 70s hollywood began to rebound with the godfather, exorcist, etc - 75 jaws revived and redefined hollywoods block buster tradition - film was multitude of genres— horrific revenge of nature film, supernatural thriller, slasher film, disaster film, action adventure thrilled, chase film - saturation marketing campaign proved successful creating prototype for summer blockbuster - grossed 200 mil, generated myriad commercial tie-ins from toys and video games to sequels and soundtracks - jaws represented a movie franchise and product line different from star genre formulas of old hollywood; veritable genre unto itself whose story could be reiterated in any number of media forms - emergence of payable and home video industries - 75 VCR emerged —home video industry - 70s growth of mall based multiplex theatre and concurrent emergence of new generation of moviegoer - rise of two talent agencies created in 70s—ICM and CAAwhich specialized in packaging new hollywood media franchises and grew even more powerful than the movie studios - late 70s saw an upswing in defensive market tactics —sequels, series, reissues and remakes - late 70s economic recovery underway with rocky, star wars, saturday night fever, grease, superman - saturday night fever—sitcom star, soundtrack and help of disco craze, music video industry - star wars was ultimate new hollywood—high speed, hip ironic, male action adventure yearn whose central characters are essentially plot functions - space epic surprised haws box office hit and secured future for adolescent by the numbers male action films - hollywoods dominant products would become increasingly plot driven, increasingly visceral kinetic and fast paced fantastic reliant on special effects and targeting younger audiences - ep
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