Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, June 17, 2003  

Media Concentration in Two Paragraphs


Advocates of deregulation like to point out that the media landscape is sunnier than it was in the sixties, when ninety per cent of TV viewers watched only the three networks. But that was a different kind of concentration of power. Now big media players control both programming and distribution. Five companies own all the broadcast networks, four of the major movie studios, and ninety per cent of the top fifty cable channels. Those companies also produce three-quarters of all prime-time programming. Ten years ago, four of them accounted for just a quarter of it.

The control that these companies have over supply and demand doesn’t leave much room for newcomers. It’s impossible to imagine someone today pulling off what Diller and Murdoch did in the mid-eighties, when they started the Fox network, or what Turner did when he started TBS and CNN. There aren’t enough independent distribution outlets or independent sources of programming to make the gamble worthwhile. Deregulation is leading to fewer choices, not more.

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posted by Jeff | 12:22 PM |
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