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Movies, Media, and Instant Access

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Publication Year: 2013

Film stocks are vanishing, but the iconic images of the silver screen remain -- albeit in new, sleeker formats. Today, viewers can in-stantly stream movies on televisions, computers, and smartphones. Gone are the days when films could only be seen in theaters or rented at video stores: movies are now accessible at the click of a button, and there are no reels, tapes, or discs to store. Any film or show worth keeping may be collected in the virtual cloud and accessed at will through services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant.

The movies have changed, and we are changing with them. The ways we communicate, receive information, travel, and socialize have all been revolutionized. In Streaming, Wheeler Winston Dixon reveals the positive and negative consequences of the transition to digital formatting and distribution, exploring the ways in which digital cinema has altered contemporary filmmaking and our culture. Many industry professionals and audience members feel that the new format fundamentally alters the art, while others laud the liberation of the moving image from the "imperfect" medium of film, asserting that it is both inevitable and desirable. Dixon argues that the change is neither good nor bad; it's simply a fact.

Hollywood has embraced digital production and distribution because it is easier, faster, and cheaper, but the displacement of older technology will not come without controversy. This groundbreaking book illuminates the challenges of preserving media in the digital age and explores what stands to be lost, from the rich hues of traditional film stocks to the classic movies that are not profitable enough to offer in streaming formats. Dixon also investigates the financial challenges of the new distribution model, the incorporation of new content such as webisodes, and the issue of ownership in an age when companies have the power to pull purchased items from consumer devices at their own discretion.

Streaming touches on every aspect of the shift to digital production and distribution. It explains not only how the new technology is affecting movies, music, books, and games, but also how instant access is permanently changing the habits of viewers and influencing our culture.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. iii-4

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-5


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pp. v-6


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pp. vi-7


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pp. vii-9

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1. On Demand

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pp. 1-30

There can be no doubt that the digitization of the moving image has radically and irrevocably altered the phenomenon we call the cinema, and that the characteristics of this transformation leave open an entirely new field of visual figuration. For those who live and work in the postfilmic...

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2. The Lost Age of Classicism

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pp. 31-70

On June 30, 2011, Chuck Viane, then president of Walt Disney Studios’ Motion Pictures Division, wrote an open letter to exhibitors, shortly before his retirement. The point of the letter was simple and direct: 35mm is becoming obsolete; adapt to digital, or face...

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3. Content Wars

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pp. 71-100

Streaming accelerates everything. It creates a voracious appetite for new content. How do you think those 100 YouTube channels get through the day, providing new programming for their millions of viewers? A look at the promo video on the YOMYOMF (You Offend...

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4. The Moving Platform

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pp. 101-128

As the web continues to expand, like the universe, into a maelstrom of almost inconceivable complexity, it’s important to remember that there is a life apart from virtual existence, a real world where we possess corporeal existence. We ignore this at our peril, and the risks of video game...

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5. Streaming the World

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pp. 129-167

As streaming technology progresses, the vast amount of information that each of us possesses will become more and more available to even the casual observer, who won’t even have to search for it. No search engines, using either keyboards or voice commands, will be necessary...

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pp. 169-170

First of all, I want to thank Gwendolyn Foster for suggesting that I write this volume, and Anne Dean Watkins for commissioning it. I also want to thank my colleagues Christopher Sharrett, Jon Kraszewski, Marco Abel, Susan Belasco, Michael Downey, Greg Ostroff, Laura White...

Works Cited

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pp. 171-182


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pp. 183-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780813142241
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813142173

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 866592456
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Streaming

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Streaming technology (Telecommunications).
  • Digital video.
  • Business enterprises -- Computer networks.
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