Media in the Future Present Past

“Films are at the semiotic apex of screen production, because they have the greatest symbolic power and aesthetic legitimacy. But for some time now they have basically been commercials rather than ends in themselves…. And TV is becoming a commercial in the same way as cinema. Someone I know expects that the TV dramas he produces–for USA and ABC Family–will make money not through syndication, but downloads. One of his series is currently downloaded 50,000 times a week for podcasting.” (3-4)

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“So what will Hollywood look like in 2010? The 2001 recession hit the culture industries hard, not least because Republican Party financiers transferred money away from Silicon Valley/Alley and Hollywood, and toward manufacutring and defense, as punishments and rewards for these industries’ respective attitudes during the 2000 election and subsequent coup. Wall Street investors fled the cultural sector, because 66 per cent of its campaign contributions had gone to Al Gore Minor. Energy, tobacco and military contractors, 80 per cent of whose campaign contributions had gone to George Bush Minor, suddenly received unparalleled transfers of confidence. This dramatic shift aligned finance capital with the new Administration–a victory for oil, cigarettes, and guns over celluloid, CDs, and wires. The former saw their market value rise by an average of 80 per cent in a year, while the latter declined by 12 to 80 per cent. Then the post-September 11 re-militarization of everyday life saw Hollywood and the Silicon Valley and Alley sites show their loyalty–to Wall Street and the Presidency alike.

“Hollywood has a long history of working with Washington…; it has a long history of working with Silicon Valley high-technology projects brokered by the military industries…; and it has a long history of responding to technological change by adding new developments to its oligopoly. There is every reason to think the same will happen with the digital fallout, albeit with massive stress, and many, many people suffering as a consequence. Hollywood 2010 will look different from Hollywood right now, but it will still be Hollywood.” (4)

Toby Miller, “Global Hollywood 2010”

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