Cover image for Veni, vidi, video : the Hollywood empire and the VCR
Title:
Veni, vidi, video : the Hollywood empire and the VCR
Author:
Wasser, Frederick.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
x, 245 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780292791459

9780292791466
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN1992.935 .W37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies. Instead of heading downtown to a first-run movie palace, or even to a suburban multiplex with the latest high-tech projection capabilities, many people's first stop is now the local video store. Indeed, video rentals and sales today generate more income than either theatrical releases or television reruns of movies.


Summary

A funny thing happened on the way to the movies. Instead of heading downtown to a first-run movie palace, or even to a suburban multiplex with the latest high-tech projection capabilities, many people's first stop is now the neighborhood video store. Indeed, video rentals and sales today generate more income than either theatrical releases or television reruns of movies.

This pathfinding book chronicles the rise of home video as a mass medium and the sweeping changes it has caused throughout the film industry since the mid-1970s. Frederick Wasser discusses Hollywood's initial hostility to home video, which studio heads feared would lead to piracy and declining revenues, and shows how, paradoxically, video revitalized the film industry with huge infusions of cash that financed blockbuster movies and massive marketing campaigns to promote them. He also tracks the fallout from the video revolution in everything from changes in film production values to accommodate the small screen to the rise of media conglomerates and the loss of the diversity once provided by smaller studios and independent distributors.


Reviews 4

Library Journal Review

Few acronyms are more universally known than that of the VCR. Not so long ago, this now-ubiquitous device generated outright perplexity, but by 1994, argues Wasser (communications, Central Connecticut State Univ.), it met both audience and industry needs. Home audiences could tape programs for later viewing, studios could market their films via inexpensive cassettes, and video stores could rent them out. Wasser provides the historical background necessary to understand fully the sociological and technological saga of the home video. He begins with a discussion of the development of radio, film, and television and progresses through the invention of magnetic tape and a general decrease in leisure time. He further discusses copyright litigation, the impact of pornography on the growth of the videocassette market, the decline of independent studios, the rise of multiplex theaters, and more. This thorough history of the increasingly reformatted film medium includes charts and illustrations, such as ads for Betamax and early films available on videocassette. A vital contribution to film and culture studies. Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Wasser (Central Connecticut State Univ.) provides a detailed history of the distribution of films, related business decisions from the days of the nickelodeons until about 1994, the impact of the new video recording technologies on the film industry, and the options that the VCR gave the modern consumer. In well-researched arguments, the author delineates how the dominant Hollywood film companies of the 1950s have grown into multimedia giants, absorbing, to some extent, the television networks that they had feared. He shows why Hollywood films are much more expensive and are advertised more heavily. And he reminds the reader that reformatting and other factors have led to less emphasis on the craft of film and more concern for marketing. Wasser also notes that the defeat of playback-only taping systems (versus the VCR) forced the film industry to recognize that consumers can have an active role in the process. Including extensive chapter notes, a nine-page bibliography, a nine-page index, and illustrative graphs, this study is useful for anyone interested in the film industry, film history, or film aesthetics. All collections. R. Blackwood emeritus, City Colleges of Chicago


Library Journal Review

Few acronyms are more universally known than that of the VCR. Not so long ago, this now-ubiquitous device generated outright perplexity, but by 1994, argues Wasser (communications, Central Connecticut State Univ.), it met both audience and industry needs. Home audiences could tape programs for later viewing, studios could market their films via inexpensive cassettes, and video stores could rent them out. Wasser provides the historical background necessary to understand fully the sociological and technological saga of the home video. He begins with a discussion of the development of radio, film, and television and progresses through the invention of magnetic tape and a general decrease in leisure time. He further discusses copyright litigation, the impact of pornography on the growth of the videocassette market, the decline of independent studios, the rise of multiplex theaters, and more. This thorough history of the increasingly reformatted film medium includes charts and illustrations, such as ads for Betamax and early films available on videocassette. A vital contribution to film and culture studies. Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Wasser (Central Connecticut State Univ.) provides a detailed history of the distribution of films, related business decisions from the days of the nickelodeons until about 1994, the impact of the new video recording technologies on the film industry, and the options that the VCR gave the modern consumer. In well-researched arguments, the author delineates how the dominant Hollywood film companies of the 1950s have grown into multimedia giants, absorbing, to some extent, the television networks that they had feared. He shows why Hollywood films are much more expensive and are advertised more heavily. And he reminds the reader that reformatting and other factors have led to less emphasis on the craft of film and more concern for marketing. Wasser also notes that the defeat of playback-only taping systems (versus the VCR) forced the film industry to recognize that consumers can have an active role in the process. Including extensive chapter notes, a nine-page bibliography, a nine-page index, and illustrative graphs, this study is useful for anyone interested in the film industry, film history, or film aesthetics. All collections. R. Blackwood emeritus, City Colleges of Chicago


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Signs of the Time The American Film Industry before Video
The American Film Industry and Video
The Political Economy of Distribution
Video and the Audience
Structure of the Study
Chapter 1 Film Distribution and Home Viewing before the VCR A Brief Review of the Early Days of the Movie Industry
From Universal Audiences to Feature-Length Films
Movies at Home
Tiered Releasing
Broadcasting: The Other Entertainment Medium
Postwar Film Exhibition
Distributing Films to Smaller Audiences
Television Advertising and Jaws: Marketing the Shark Wide and Deep
Chapter 2 The Development of Video Recording Broadcast Networks and Recording Technology
Television and Recording
Home Video 1 Playback-only Systems
Japanese Recorder System Development Home Video 2
Chapter 3 Home Video: The Early Years Choice, "Harried" Leisure, and New Technologies
The Emergence of Cable
The Universal Lawsuit
VCR and Subversion
X-rated Cassettes
The Majors Start Video Distribution
Videotape Pricing
Renting
Chapter 4 The Years of Independence: 1981-1986 Independence on the Cusp of Video
New Companies Get into Video Business
Hollywood Tries to Control Rentals
Video, Theater, and Cable
Pre-Selling/Pre-Buying
Video and New Genres
Vestron's Video Publishing
Conclusion
Chapter 5 Video Becomes Big Business The Development of Two-Tiered Pricing
The New Movie Theater
Microeconomics 1: Overview
Microeconomics 2: Rental
Video and Other Commodities
Retailing
Consolidation
Breadth versus Depth
Video Advertising
Video and Revenue Streams
Production Increase
More Money, Same Product
Chapter 6 Consolidation and Shakeouts High Concept
Disney Comes Back On-line
The Majors Hold the Line on Production Expansion
Vestron Responds
The Fate of Pre-Selling and the Mini-Majors
LIVE, Miramax, and New Line
Conclusion
Chapter 7 The Lessons of the Video Revolution Media Industries after the VCR
Home Video and Changes in the Form of Film
Images of Audience Time
A Philosophic View of Film and Audience
Whither the Mass Audience?
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Signs of the Time The American Film Industry before Video
The American Film Industry and Video
The Political Economy of Distribution
Video and the Audience
Structure of the Study
Chapter 1 Film Distribution and Home Viewing before the VCR A Brief Review of the Early Days of the Movie Industry
From Universal Audiences to Feature-Length Films
Movies at Home
Tiered Releasing
Broadcasting: The Other Entertainment Medium
Postwar Film Exhibition
Distributing Films to Smaller Audiences
Television Advertising and Jaws: Marketing the Shark Wide and Deep
Chapter 2 The Development of Video Recording Broadcast Networks and Recording Technology
Television and Recording
Home Video 1 Playback-only Systems
Japanese Recorder System Development Home Video 2
Chapter 3 Home Video: The Early Years Choice, "Harried" Leisure, and New Technologies
The Emergence of Cable
The Universal Lawsuit
VCR and Subversion
X-rated Cassettes
The Majors Start Video Distribution
Videotape Pricing
Renting
Chapter 4 The Years of Independence: 1981-1986 Independence on the Cusp of Video
New Companies Get into Video Business
Hollywood Tries to Control Rentals
Video, Theater, and Cable
Pre-Selling/Pre-Buying
Video and New Genres
Vestron's Video Publishing
Conclusion
Chapter 5 Video Becomes Big Business The Development of Two-Tiered Pricing
The New Movie Theater
Microeconomics 1: Overview
Microeconomics 2: Rental
Video and Other Commodities
Retailing
Consolidation
Breadth versus Depth
Video Advertising
Video and Revenue Streams
Production Increase
More Money, Same Product
Chapter 6 Consolidation and Shakeouts High Concept
Disney Comes Back On-line
The Majors Hold the Line on Production Expansion
Vestron Responds
The Fate of Pre-Selling and the Mini-Majors
LIVE, Miramax, and New Line
Conclusion
Chapter 7 The Lessons of the Video Revolution Media Industries after the VCR
Home Video and Changes in the Form of Film
Images of Audience Time
A Philosophic View of Film and Audience
Whither the Mass Audience?
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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