Given the relative cheapness of electronic and physical distribution, it is usually more cost effective to produce a program centrally and distribute it widely rather than for each retail outlet to produce its own content. Thus, networks and syndicators emerged from which retail outlets acquired programming, or they produced the program themselves. These networks and syndicators package the content and distribute it to retail outlets such as broadcast stations, cable network operators, and satellite distribution systems. This chapter analyzes the concentration of trends in radio program networks and television broadcast networks. Because radio is often used as an example for media concentration trends, it needs to be discussed at greater length. In about one decade, from 1992 to 2001, the market share of the top four firms increased from 9% to 38%. The national level of radio concentration was less dramatic than its rapid rate of change suggests, coupled with local concentration. In the case of television stations, the concentration trend in ownership has received high visibility. Cable television has become the major delivery platform for additional video channels.
Keywords: media concentration, television stations, cable television, radio, satellite distribution systems, cable network operators, ownership, market share, radio program networks, television broadcast networks
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