Entertainment Industrialised: The Emergence of the International Film Industry, 1890-1940 (Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series)
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Entertainment Industrialised was the first study to compare the emergence and economic development of the film industry in Britain, France and the United States between 1890 and 1940. Gerben Bakker investigates the commercialisation and industrialisation of live entertainment in the nineteenth century and analyses the subsequent arrival of motion pictures, revealing that their emergence triggered a process of incessant creative destruction, development and productivity growth that continues in the entertainment industry today. He argues that cinema industrialised live entertainment by automating it, standardising it and making it tradeable, a process that was largely demand led, and that a quality race between firms changed the structure of the international entertainment market. While a hundred years ago, European enterprises were supplying half of all films shown in the US, the quality race resulted in today's industry, in which a handful of American companies dominate the global entertainment business.
tax 112 113 114 Computed from Ibid. Pixerecourt (1818) defended the melodrama, which had come under attack for its vulgarity. He wanted to show that melodramas were only a small part of all entertainment staged. In Paris, the mix of genres probably differed, as stage time was more abundant than in the provinces. Besides official legitimate theatres, it had several which played popular repertoires and gave the melodrama a better chance. The emergence of national entertainment markets 47
(figure 2.9 and table 2.10). This supports the notion that through professional management and automation, the US industry made up for its shortage of creative inputs. While in 1900 sold output per creative input was only 13,000 spectator-hours in the US, somewhere in between the 21,000 in Britain and the 1,000 in France, by 1938 it had increased nearly tenfold to 122,000 spectatorhours per creative input, compared to 98,000 in Britain and just 22,000 in France. The number of actors grew strongly
mass market, they would create jobs.26 The question remains how exactly the additional leisure hours translated into more consumption of spectator entertainment. Three long-run changes stand out: the increasing division between labour and leisure, the increase in the planning and timing of work and leisure time, and the rise in opportunity costs. Before industrialisation most work was concentrated around the home and work and private life were inseparable. When people became employed in
accidents and innovations such as cinema before entrepreneurs ‘discovered’ the responsiveness of demand at low prices. This process would not be dissimilar to the argument of proponents of ‘path dependency’ that more efficient paths may not be taken because the first few steps seem unattractive and hide the large pay-offs later on. At some point in time, the supply-side process would meet the demand-side process that was driven by the factors mentioned above and was probably increasing elasticity
a far wider availability, both across space and across time. Cinemas emerged in neighbourhoods and small towns and offered shows even at the marginal hours of the day, the marginal days of the week and the marginal weeks of the year. Falling ticket prices, wider availability, increased leisure time and easier access to entertainment venues through living in cities and transport networks all had a positive effect on the demand for entertainment. Rising real wages left consumers with more