Edward Jay Epstein


The Stealthy World of Brands

Not unlike other forms of social manipulation, product placement traces back to the golden era of Hollywood. In the late 1930s, the De Beers diamond cartel, desperate to sell diamonds in the Depression, gave its ad agency, N.W. Ayer, a truly daunting assignment: implant in the minds of American men the idea that buying a quarter-carat diamond would let them have their way with women.

The Facebook Anthill

The brilliance of Facebook is its ability to beguile its 700 million-odd users into building digital heaps, some of which are called “fan pages” and are for celebrities, TV programs, political causes,  commercial products, etc.

Hollywood’s Reality: TV

Hollywood’s dirty secret? Television. Without the flow of revenue from TV, or without the sale of ads on cable, networks, and foreign TV, every major U.S. studio would go bankrupt.

Numbers Game

Prime-time ratings often blur the reality of the television business. Even though they are the only numbers readily available to the news media, they tell only part of the story.The distortion they tend to produce is especially pronounced when it comes to the single richest fiefdoms in present day television: basic cable networks.

The Real Hollywood Genius

The genius of modern Hollywood lies not just in its ability to make movies, but to create weekly audiences for them. Back in the pre-TV days, when two-thirds of Americans were weekly moviegoers, that was unnecessary. Even as late as 1948, some 90 million Americans went to their local movie theaters every week without any national advertising to prod them.

Video Wars

Why is Christopher Dodd, the retired Senator from Connecticut, receiving over $1.5 million a year to head the Motion Picture Association of America?