The American Movie Industry: The Business of Motion Pictures

By Gorham Anders Kindem | Go to book overview

16
Film as International Business:
The Role of American Multinationals

Thomas H. Guback

The symposium on the International Flow of Television Programs held in May 1973 at the University of Tampere ( Finland) demonstrated the rapidly growing interest in the nature and consequence of the circulation of video materials among nations.

As the conference progressed, one point that became apparent was the extent to which the relatively new and highly conspicuous international trade in television programs has grown along lines already traced by the circulation of theatrical motion pictures over the last half century. It would seem as if the international film business had provided the prototype or model for television, and that would not be too surprising for in the United States, at any rate, many of the same companies are engaged in both fields.

Allied Artists, Avco--Embassy, Columbia, Disney, MCA (Universal), MGM, National General, Paramount, Twentieth Century--Fox, United Artists, and Warner Bros. are important Hollywood companies which also deal in television programs for domestic and foreign consumption. Indeed, the member companies of the Motion Picture Association of America (the above, minus Disney and National General) supplied 70 percent of the prime-time programming on the three national commercial television networks during 1972--predominantly series produced directly for television, but also feature films made for theatrical distribution or especially for video.1 The same companies (members of the Motion Picture Export Association of America [MPEAA]) also are estimated to account for about 80 percent of television program exports from the United States. These amount to some 50,000 program hours annually, and might well run over 100,000 if data were available from more vigorous account-

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