Year End Showbiz Wrap Up

Hollywood production workers have been hit hard by this recension. People are struggling to find work and many have lost their homes. I’ve lived through a few recessions here, and for the most part they’ve been okay for Hollywood. When money gets tight, people want escape, and Hollywood provides it. But this time was different. Was that situational (the de facto strikes) or a long-term trend, caused by the shift of audiences to the internet and videogames?

Three articles in yesterday’s paper offer a good overview. In general, 2010 wasn’t as bad as it might have been, and there were some strong bright spots. Total TV viewing was up 1%, to the highest level in history. (The average American is now watching 35 hours a week.) TV ad rates were way up after a long dry spell, that’s very good sign for anybody who works in television. Theatrical attendance was down a bit but box office was flat, a result of higher ticket prices. And it was a big year for documentaries, though they didn’t do so well in theaters. Over all, the big draw was escapist fantasy — and that looks like a good, old-fashioned Hollywood recession. This year, that’s something fondly to be hoped for.

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