A Look At Three Regulatory Forces Influencing Content And Distribution In The Motion Picture And Television Industries

By Robert Burgelman, Philip Meza
2003 | Case No. SM105
Much of the landscape in which today’s media companies find themselves as they contend with the impact of digitization of content and the convergence of means of distribution was shaped by regulatory forces. Three government rulings in particular were influential: the Consent Decree of 1948 (often referred to as the “Paramount Case”), the Financial Interest and Syndication ruling (also called the “FinSyn” ruling of 1970 of the United States Federal Communications Commission), and the United States Supreme Court ruling in Universal City Studios et al. (including Disney) v. Sony Corporation (also known as the Betamax case of 1984). These regulatory forces broke up tight vertical integration between content production and distribution (Paramount Case and FinSyn ruling) or helped to pave the road for the introduction of new technologies for distribution (Betamax case).
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