Deregulation: Opening the Floodgates

In Jennifer Holt’s Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation, she examines the ways in which opportunities to expand (in any way one chooses to define this term) became available once heavily mandated laws were placed on media, specifically broadcast television. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) halted its regulations on public programming under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, which she sheds light on. “During a crucial moment for media deregulation in his first term, President Reagan intervened on behalf of the Hollywood studios—reneging on his commitment to keep the government’s hands out of marketplace affairs in order t help his former colleagues. ‘Film is forever,’ he said at the fifty-third annual Academy Awards in 1981,” (p. 4)

It was highly indicative that the entertainment industry began to grow rapidly once there was such a thing as major conglomerates controlling “89 percent of the domestic exhibition market,” (p. 43). Film and cable began to fuse more rapidly than ever, however films still made majority of their profits from domestic theatre releases, according to Holt. Cable surely did disrupt, positively speaking, the course in which film was traveling.

1996 was definitely a pivotal year for the evolution of televised programs and the conversion of film and cable. It represented the homestretch of the film-broadcast-cable fusion. “By 1996, the political landscape was no longer hostile to common ownership of telecommunications, cable, broadcast, and film,” (p. 140).


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