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The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications by Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock, Helena Sousa

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14

The Death of Hollywood

Exaggeration or Reality?

Janet Wasko

Once again, the Hollywood film industry is being challenged by a wide array of sources – everything from new technologies to other film industries to copyright infringers. Some of these challenges are not new, although one might think so by reading discussions in the popular press, entertainment blogs, or film industry trade papers, where, once again, the end of Hollywood, and even the end of film, has been predicted. Some examples:

  • “Hollywood as a business model is … facing deep and fundamental challenges” (Florida 2009).
  • “The business model that formed the motion picture business … is changing profoundly before our eyes” (Disney CEO, Bob Iger, cited in Sandoval 2009).
  • “As almost (or, truly, virtually) every aspect of making and viewing movies is replaced by digital technologies, even the notion of ‘watching a film’ is fast becoming an anachronism” (publicity material for Rodowick 2007).
  • “… in case you’ve missed this decade altogether, it’s no secret that the entire Hollywood movie industry is dying” (Edelman 2007).
  • “… cinema as we know it is falling apart” (Francis Ford Coppola cited in Sandoval 2009).

Certainly, there can be little doubt that the media in general are undergoing significant changes, primarily because of digital technologies but for other reasons as well. Indeed, this period has been called “the largest, most fundamental transformation in the history of the media since the advent of typeface, the moving image, ...

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