Six Hollywood studio companies have historically dominated the production, financing, distribution, and exhibition of motion pictures. This handful of firms, all located in the Los Angeles area, has exercised an extraordinary control over the film medium of the United States and the entire world. But while this market structure has persisted for an extraordinary ninety years or so, it has been far from placid. In 1949, the US government forced the major firms to divest their theater chains. In the 1950s and 1960s, weakened by the emergence of television and the shrinking of theater attendance, most studios were acquired by general business conglomerates, and in a later round by media firms. They became holdings of portfolios of the entertainment assets of the communications companies, both American and foreign. Vertical integration increased again as these companies diversified their distribution into TV network ownerships and returned to theater ownership. This chapter analyzes market concentration trends in the film industry in the United States.
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