Public television knows about it. The rest of the mass media world knows about it. CBS, ABC, and NBC, the New York Times, Comsat, and General Electric have invested heavily in it.

Last spring my wife and I were invited to attend a conference sponsored by public television for independent filmmakers in the Boston area. Present were representatives from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS), the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, public television in Boston (WGBH), and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts. I was curious as to why PBS should suddenly be so interested in independent filmmakers that they would offer lectures and discussions on grant writing, fund raising, and the inside story on the NEA and the NEH. I came away certain that we are on the verge of a technological revolution that, in the next decade, will significantly change our society.

It is a mass media revolution, and it is coming because of the “new technology” of transmission, reception, and recording: multipoint distribution, direct broadcast satellites, subscription television, cable television, two-way cable television, videocassette recorders, and videodiscs. It has involved billions of dollars already, and billions more will be invested. A recent report by the brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith states that by 1985, 12 million households will have videocassette equipment, 14 million will have videodisc machines, 30 percent of all households will have cable TV. The videodisc market alone will easily exceed $3 billion annually. The report further states that within 15 years these new media will be larger than the broadcast industry of the major networks.

It is certain that a mass media ...

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