The Dynamics of Media Concentration: A Model

Eli M. Noam

in Media Ownership and Concentration in America

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195188523
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852574 | DOI:
The Dynamics of Media Concentration: A Model

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Since World War II, the information sector in the United States has been evolving through three stages: the stages of limited media, multichannel media, and digital media. In the lengthy stage of limited media, major segments of the information sector were dominated by large firms. This stage of limited media, so different from the image of a past golden age of open media, prevailed into the early 1980s, when it changed quite rapidly, at least in the electronic realm. The third stage, that of digital media, is characterized by the emergence of computer communications as a mass medium and is exemplified by the Internet. The key to this stage is digitalization: the transformation of voice, text, video, and data information into binary on-off signals, and their move toward common platforms of transmission, storage, processing, and display. The overall trend of media concentration is the composite of three separate dynamics that overlay each other: the growth in economies of scale in information sector operations, the lowering of entry barriers, and digital convergence.

Keywords: United States; information sector; media concentration; limited media; multichannel media; digital media; Internet; digitalization; economies of scale; digital convergence

Chapter.  4409 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Knowledge Management

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