Web Eats Hollywood's Hedge Against Recession

Free online content elbows out movies, TV as consumers trim expenses
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2008 9:38 AM CDT
Dancers in cowboy costumes rehearse before shooting an unknown Hollywood film, circa 1930.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – 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.