The rise of free online content threatens to tarnish Hollywood's long-held belief that it is recession-proof, the Los Angeles Times reports. Tinseltown thrived in previous downturns, but with escapism now just a click of the mouse away, thrifty consumers are cutting cable subscriptions and movie tickets from their budgets.
Big media companies like Netflix and Viacom are bracing for harder times as a new generation turns to sites like Hulu instead. Experts think the long lead-up times for blockbusters mean Hollywood will weather a short-lived downturn fairly easily. They note, however, that movie attendance tailed off after a year or two even during the Depression, and believe Hollywood could be in for a rougher ride this time.