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This Day In Market History: FCC Begins Licensing Color Broadcasts

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This Day In Market History: FCC Begins Licensing Color Broadcasts

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened

On this day in 1950, the Federal Communications Commission issued CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) the nation’s first license for color broadcasts.

Where Was The Market

The S&P 500 traded around $19.87, and the Dow traded near $2,306.35.

What Else Was Going On In The World

When viewers weren’t tuned in to NBC, which boasted the top six shows for the 1950-1951 season, they were reading the earliest "Peanuts" comic strips. The first debuted Oct. 2.

CBS Flips On Color

The FCC’s Joint Technical Advisory Committee approved the CBS color broadcasting system as the first industry standard. However, incompatibility with existing black-and-white TV sets limited viewership, so after running a few color shows and up to 12 hours of color broadcasts weekly, CBS abandoned its system and the products created to support it.

NBC eventually ran the first show with a compatible color system, as well as the first color primetime series. Its comedy “The Marriage” debuted in 1954.

Despite the availability of color broadcasts, many of the decade’s most popular shows ran in black and white: “I Love Lucy,” “Leave It To Beaver” and “Lassie.”

Exactly 25 years later, NBC again demonstrated on its industry leadership with its longest-running and highest-rated show in late-night TV: "Saturday Night Live." 

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