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.