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Entertainment can be one of two things or both. It can be an experience or it can be a business.

As a business, the entertainment industry is huge, particularly in the United States. As an experience, entertainment can be anything that amuses someone or that they enjoy spending time with.

Dominated by the live performing arts and show business industries, the entertainment industry includes traditional live entertainment, mass media, and electronic entertainment. Also known as the entertainment media, the mass media is made up of the film industry, which includes film studios, movie theaters, and film scores, as well as broadcasting systems (television, radio, and podcasts), and the music industry (record labels and music videos). The music industry is comprised of composers, songwriters, orchestras, bands, and other music groups, as well as concert halls. Web television and web radio could also be included here.

The entertainment industry also encompasses theme parks, amusement parks, circuses, musical theaters, performance art, comedy, sports, concerts, fairs, festivals, and other events.

Another sector of the entertainment industry is the electronic entertainment industry that includes video games and SMS content, such as music, books, movies, television, radio, Internet, and video games accessed through smartphones, iPads, and other mobile communication systems.

Unarguably, sports and games are entertaining, but these are also part of the sports and recreation industries so we will include them in that part of our web guide rather than this one.

In this section of our guide, we'll be including the performing arts, movies, radio, television, video, and agents and agencies.

Generally speaking, the performing arts are those performed for an audience and may include comedy, dance, drama, magic, music, and object manipulation.

Music and dance are believed to date back to prehistoric times. At the same time, circus skills go back at least as far as Ancient Egypt. Theater is believed to have started in ancient Greece, with performances given in semi-circular auditoriums cut into hillsides, some of them capable of seating up to 20,000 people. Western drama originated in classical Greece with the three genres of drama: tragedy, comedy, and satyr play. Ancient Roman drama was more involved, and include a guild of writers.

Film technology was developed in the 19th century, although, prior to that time, there was already a centuries-old tradition of screening movies through shadow play and magic lantern technologies. Stroboscopic animation, photography, and stereoscopy were introduced between 1825 and 1840, and during most of the remainder of the century, engineers and inventors were at work combining these technologies with the older technique of projection. The introduction of the phonograph in 1877 promised the addition of synchronized sound recordings.

The moving images we see today are created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using animation techniques, by CGI and computer animation, or through a combination of these techniques with other visual effects.

The introduction of black-and-white television in the early 1950s brought motion picture movies into homes through the small screen. The availability of various forms of archival storage media like Betamax and VHS tapes, LaserDiscs, high-capacity hard drives, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, high-definition DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and digital video recorders have allowed viewers to watch pre-recorded material, including professionally-developed and home movies, at home and on their own time.

By the 2010s, digital television transmissions had increased in popularity, and the move from standard-definition to high-definition television had begun.

These technologies all advanced the popularity of movie and television entertainment, which included several genres. In recent years, the availability of streaming media has reduced the popularity of movie theaters and network television offerings, although both continue to enjoy a share of the market. Podcasts have also increased in popularity, taking an undeterminable share of the entertainment market, and elevating amateur podcasters to the level of stars, both in income and name recognition.

Although television has greatly reduced the share of the entertainment market held by radio broadcasts, new technologies in radio broadcasts and the availability of radio broadcasts to travelers has allowed radio shows, networks, radio stations, and Internet radio stations to hold a share of the entertainment, sports, and news market.

From an industry perspective, entertainment can be defined and characterized by its audience-centered nature rather than by its content, genre, audience, or the kind of emotional response it may or may not elicit from consumers.


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