The Adoption of New Technologies: Understanding Hollywood’s (Slow) Conversion to Color, 1940-70
35 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2014
Date Written: April 29, 2014
Hollywood converted to sound in three years. In comparison, Hollywood's conversion to color required more than three decades, and included a three-year period in which the share of color movies declined from 58 to 31 percent. We investigate this puzzling adoption profile using detailed data on 7,022 movies between 1940 and 1959. These data indicate differences in studio size and complementarity between genre and color impeded the rapid diffusion of color. These data also indicate that disadoption followed weak returns to a wave of color releases that were encouraged by the introduction of a low-cost color process.
Keywords: technology adoption, color, movies
JEL Classification: L24, L82, O33, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation