Apr 11, 2009

History and the Bollywood Distribution Wars

For a little perspective on the Hollywood version of the nascent developments in India (see my earlier post here), look at what was happening in the movie industry-pay TV distribution wars in 1982 as the Reagan era antitrust transformation was building steam (a parallel battle was well underway in the movie industry-theatre chain front as well):

The studios also complain bitterly about HBO's move to bankroll independent producers. The firm already has reportedly invested as much as $4 million in such promising properties as "Sophie's Choice," starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. "If we don't stop them, they will control all aspects of moviemaking," says Paramount's Diller. "There would be no reason for studios to exist." Most of all, Hollywood resents what it perceives as HBO's arrogance. One insider says that an HBO film buyer told a studio executive bluntly: "I know your movie is worth $2 million, but I'm going to offer you $1 million. We know you'll take it because you're all whores." "Their arrogant attitude and way of doing business has needlessly angered almost everyone they have dealt with," Diller says. Moguls: In response, HBO executive vice president Michael Fuchs points out that no one is forcing the studios to give away their pictures. "They need our revenue, and we need their movies," he notes. "If we're unfair, then let's not do business. If the deal was unsatisfactory, then I don't know why agreement was reached." As for the charge that HBO is arrogant, Fuchs says that given the way many Hollywood moguls have conducted business over the years, "we sort of consider that a compliment. I can remember the early days of HBO when we were almost petrified to go into the studios for fear we would be eaten alive." (Newsweek, 11/15/82)

You can see clearly how distribution issues, when much is on the line, are up close and personal.
Those involved in India’s struggleds might want to remember the old adage:

"Generals are always most prepared to fight the last war”

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