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Bedrijfsstrategieën, overheidsbeleid en de Europese filmmarkt tijdens het Interbellum. Een economisch-historisch perspectief


Gerben Bakker

About Gerben
Gerben Bakker is universitair docent Economische Geschiedenis en Accounting aan de London School of Economics. Hij studeerde af in Geschiedenis en Journalistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en promoveerde aan het Europees Universitair Instituut in Florence. Hij heeft uitgebreid gepubliceerd over de ontwikkeling van de film- en muziekindustrieën en de economische geschiedenis van het nieuws, in academische tijdschriften zoals de Economic History Review, Business History, Business History Review, Enterprise & Society en Advances in Austrian Economics. Onlangs publiceerde hij de monografie Entertainment Industrialised: The Emergence of the International Film Industry, 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press). Hij adviseert het Britse Hogerhuis en het Britse Ministerie van Economische Zaken over de creatieve industrie.
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Business strategies, government policy and the European film market during the interwar period: an economic-historical perspective

This paper identifies four basic economic characteristics underlying the evolution of the motion picture industry. First, the importance of endogenous sunk costs led to a quality race in the 1910s that left European companies behind. Second, the fact that marginal revenues equalled marginal profits led to extreme vertical integration. Third, a public-good characteristic of motion pictures - non-diminishability - led to a skewed income distribution among talent, with a few superstars taking most pay, although the Hollywood studios mitigated this with seven-year contracts. Fourth, the project-based nature of film production yielded large intra- and inter-industry agglomeration benefits, leading to geographical concentration. In reaction to this changing economic environment European firms formed alliances - eventually thwarted by the rise of protection and fascism - and focused on highly differentiated films. Policy makers reacted with protectionist legislation that offered European consumers more variety at the expense of quality; provided a countervailing power to the colluding Hollywood studios at the expense of increased national resources used in film production; enabled an improved balance of payment at the expense of trade friction with the u.s.; and created national agglomeration benefits possibly at the expense of other or new creative industries.

How to Cite: Bakker, Gerben. 2010. “Bedrijfsstrategieën, Overheidsbeleid En De Europese Filmmarkt Tijdens Het Interbellum. Een Economisch-historisch Perspectief”. TMG Journal for Media History 13 (2): 13–36. DOI:
Published on 01 Dec 2010.


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