Beyond the “Studio System”: Public Support for Films in the United States

  • B. Kathleen Gallagher
  • Amy Aughinbaugh
  • Zannie G. Voss
Part of the Media Business and Innovation book series (MEDIA)


This chapter describes the dynamics and implications of government funding of the film industry of the United States. It first contextualizes the overall development and structure of public arts funding in the United States, followed by a discussion of how public monies impact on both commercial and nonprofit profit film industry players. Research focused on subnational cultural policies given the proportionally larger role that subnational governments have upon direct spending for the arts. We found that state-level public incentive schemes intended to lure film production have mixed results and, arguably, create more costs than benefits for states providing them. We conducted deeper analysis on the population of nonprofit film organizations using the theory of organizational ecology and data obtained from Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research. Results of the data analysis found California and New York to be centers for nonprofit film organizations, although 58% of nonprofit film organizations are based elsewhere. Population patterns also appeared to correspond with the emergence of state-level public funding programs, suggesting that public support for films can stimulate the birth of nonprofit film organizations.


Film festivals Film production Hollywood Movie production incentives Noncommercial film ventures Nonprofit arts and culture organizations Organizational ecology Population patterns Studio system Tax credits US film industry 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Kathleen Gallagher
    • 1
  • Amy Aughinbaugh
    • 2
  • Zannie G. Voss
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  2. 2.Communities Foundation of TexasDallasUSA

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