Monday, April 10, 2017

Core Post 4: TV and Industry

Jennifer Holt’s “Vertical Vision: Deregulation, Industrial Economy, and Prime-time Design” explained the deregulation of networks and presented various statistics of how and what occurred during the conglomeration of NBC, ABC and CBS. I would like to focus specifically on Disney due to its empirical reign over almost everything. Since the article has been written Disney continued to acquire large assets including Marvel and LucasFilm.
“The companies that control the airwaves today are precisely that: a high-powered cabal of entertainment empires, dominating film, television, publishing, cable systems, home video, music, merchandising and theme parks- all at the same time” (11)
Some implications that I find problematic are the complete control of media outlets by one company. The decisions of representation, narrative, format, etc., will be in the hands of the same five large companies. The ‘gatekeepers’ of media will make decisions on and impact programming due to their “tightly diversified, vertically integrated entertainment” conglomeration (12). Which company has the power and/or the financial strength to take on a giant like this? Google? Apple? I fear that the future of cinema, television and media will be held by not five large conglomerates but two or perhaps, just one.

I look towards the internet to provide an outlet for free transmission of thought without a commodification of some sort. “Still, it is important to remember that most regulatory guidelines for broadcasting were not designed with an internet economy, 500 channels or a global audience in mind” (26), however, Disney indeed looked into the future of the internet economy and in April of 2009 joined as a venture partner and equity owner of Hulu. This has strengthened and placed themselves amongst the top 3 of online media platforms amongst Netflix and Amazon Video.


  1. This reminds me of the documentary, "Mickey Mouse Monopoly", which talks about Disney's literal colonization on the imagination of the child (basically, Disney "owns" childhoods). The Cultural theorist behind the book, Henry Giroux, is literally told he should fear writing critiques on Disney because it could lead to disaster for him.
    Of course, the documentary and the book it's based on was made before the internet became a giant, so to see that Disney just took over more makes it seem like a bleak future for media owning diversity.

  2. I think your fear of a Disney take over on television is valid and not to be dismissed. I didn't know about their relationship with Hulu but I did notice their presence on Netflix with some of their recent feature films: Zootopia, The BFG, and Finding Dory to name a few. It also brings to mind Disney's success in the past with the Disneyland series and its promotion of the theme park, just growing its power as a conglomerate. They actually took a hit by purchasing Maker Studios, a YouTube based production company, from a few years ago. So they're not entirely comfortable with the internet thing yet, to my mind anyway. I do tend to forget about their merging with ABC though.