Lesson 7 Discovery Activity
Off the Set

Outside the Theater: Researching the Industry

Fewer of Hollywood’s dollars come from theatrical exhibition with each passing year. Since the advent of television more than 50 years ago, a constant succession of new technologies has provided new distribution windows and new streams of income.

Time Estimate

1 hour


We’re going to try an experiment in communal research here. Our goal is to develop two lists:

  1. Failed distribution, exhibition, and exploitation technologies that have come and gone (like "soundies," the jukeboxes of the 1940s that played short films with each song).
  2. Unusual or potential sources of income for Hollywood and for independent filmmakers (such as video-game tie-ins).

Go to Google or your favorite search engine and let us know what you find!


Please post your responses to the following questions on the class message board.

  1. What examples did you come up with on your list of failed technologies?
  2. Were you able to identify some unusual or potential sources of income for filmmakers? What were they?