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Media Economics and the Global Marketplace. Chapter 13. Shopped til They Dropped. Enron WorldCom Tyco Vivendi Adelphia Communications AOL/Time Warner All mired in scandal. Monopoly Oligopoly Limited competition. Three Common Structures. Media Performance. Direct payment

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shopped til they dropped
Shopped til They Dropped
  • Enron
  • WorldCom
  • Tyco
  • Vivendi
  • Adelphia Communications
  • AOL/Time Warner

All mired in scandal

monopoly oligopoly limited competition


Limited competition

Three Common Structures
media performance
Media Performance
  • Direct payment
    • Consumer buys media products.
  • Indirect payment
    • Products supported by advertisers
      • Of course, you pay later in each advertised product’s cost.
  • Economies of scale
    • Increase production levels to reduce overall cost per unit
  • Economic analyses
    • Early 1990s cutbacks in news divisions jeopardized their role as watchdog.
the information economy
The Information Economy

“Transnational media corporations executed business deals across international terrain.”

antitrust and trust
Antitrust and Trust
  • Sherman Act, 1890
  • Clayton Act, 1914
  • Celler-Kefauver, 1950


“Big is bad if it stifles competition…but big is good if it produces quality programs.”

—Michael Eisner

media mergers
Media Mergers
  • Disney bought ABC for $19 billion in 1995.
  • Time Warner bought Turner Broadcasting for $7.5 billion in 1995.
  • Time Warner merged with AOL—a $160 billion deal—in 2001.
  • AT&T cable joined Comcast in 2002 in a $72 billion deal.
flexible markets and downsizing
Flexible Markets and Downsizing
  • “Downsizing” makes companies more productive, competitive, and flexible.
  • Who benefits from downsizing? Who is disadvantaged?
labor unions
Labor Unions
  • Era of downsizing coincides with decline in workers who belong to labor unions.
  • By 2006, Wal-Mart had successfully fought all organized union attempts to represent its employees in its 3,850 U.S. stores.
global markets
Global Markets
  • Specialization
  • Synergy
  • America’s global extension of media occurred because
    • Media became cheap and portable
    • Outsourcing of production to foreign countries
the disney example
The Disney Example
  • 1920s: Disney elevates the film cartoon.
  • 1950s-60s: Moves into TV and non-cartoon movies
    • Diversifies
  • 1984: Dominates video sales
  • 2006: Merges with Pixar
    • Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs is now Disney’s largest shareholder.
  • It’s all about Synergy.
social issues in media economics
Social Issues in Media Economics
  • The limits of antitrust laws
    • Easily subverted since the 1980s
    • Companies diversify among different product lines.
      • Never completely dominate one particular industry
  • Consumer control vs. consumer choice
    • Participating in deciding what is to be offered vs. freedom to choose among the products
      • Consumers and even employees have limited power in deciding what gets created and circulated.
cultural imperialism
Cultural Imperialism
  • American-made images
  • American-made language
  • American style
    • All saturate the world
  • Questions cultural imperialism raises:
    • What small country can justify building a competing media system if American programming is cheap?
    • How do people feel when they are bombarded with products they can’t afford to buy?

“The top management of the networks…has been trained in advertising, research, or show business. But by the nature of the corporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news…. Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this.”—Edward R. Murrow