In 1954, an alliance between the ABC television network and the Disney studio, the Sunday night series The Wonderful World of Disney, showed potential synergies. Then popular movies begat television series, and popular television series begat movies. Another breakthrough occurred in the mid-1960s when television networks began offering Hollywood blockbusters, like Bridge over the River Kwai, and then regularized them in a prime-time Movie of the Week series. Financially these were a win-win for the networks and the movie studios, which suddenly discovered additional income in recycling their products. To be sure, local stations earlier had filled time with hand-me-down movies from Hollywood, but these mostly were from B-lists and shown at obscure times of the day.
The television–movie divide further crumbled with the television comedy series I Love Lucy. The show, launched in 1951, was filmed with three cameras, which moved television away from live shows and nearer to the conventions of Hollywood production. Lucy editors chose from three sets of film, each from a different angle, for the greatest impact. Important too, actors Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, whose success gave them plenty of clout with the CBS network, insisted that they be allowed to produce the show in Hollywood. Up until that point the television industry was New York-centric. Desi and Lucy preferred West Coast sunshine and glamour.
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Digitization later facilitated the shift of technicians from producing movies to television and back to movies. Distinctions blurred. in corporate offices, executives were focused not on their old rival medium for eyeballs but on how to maximize profits by adapting products to any and all delivery vehicles.
Although these once bitterly rival industries have found an easy and profitable peace with each other, there remain differences that are deeply rooted in their distinctive pasts.
5.5.4 Strength through Trade Groups 1. Objective: Explain how trade organizations serve professionals in the media
An industry becomes an industry when a polyglot of companies with similar if not competing products organizes for their mutual benefit. These trade organizations
serve two primary purposes. They help their member companies do a better job. The Newspapers Association of America (NAA), as an example, is examining possibilities for newspapers with the fast-growing social media site Pinterest. Earlier the NAA helped develop an industry-wide standard column widths to make it easier for advertisers to place ads. Trade associations also lobby for their member interests. The NAB, for example, takes policy positions before Congress, the FCC, and the courts on behalf of the government-licensed radio and television stations that comprise its membership, as well as the networks that serve these stations.
Among the major trade associations that define legacy media industries are:
Association of American Publishers. More than 300 book publishing companies.
Association of Magazine Media. About 75 magazine companies.
Motion Picture Association of America. The six major Hollywood studios.
National Association of Broadcasters. More than 8,300 terrestrial radio and television stations as well as broadcast networks.
Newspaper Association of America. About 2,000 newspaper companies.
Recording Industry Association of America. Represents recording and distribution companies with about 1,600 labels.
There are dozens of more focused trade associations, as wide-ranging as the American Association of University Presses, the National Association of Hispanic Publications, and the National Religious Broadcasters.
A dominant trade association hasn’t emerged for Internet industry, which is a sign that the Internet remains in a nascent stage as an industry. It’s still taking form. The Internet is also, as yet, unregulated, whereas the trade associations mentioned above lobby with regard to regulations that affect them.
Make no mistake, the membership of trade organizations is at the corporate level. The organizations’ interests do not always coincide with those of media people who produce media content. Content-producers have their own groups that help their members go about their work to do a better job. Besides these professional organizations, labor unions work at helping members deal in the form usually of salaries and working conditions.
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