This edition: Broadcast Television Industry
Beginning as an outgrowth of the radio broadcasting industry, network television quickly took on its own character both as a medium and as a business. This lesson focuses on the structure of the broadcast television industry that prefigured and now competes with cable television. It covers the centralized major networks, public broadcasting, independent stations, affiliates, and syndication. You will gain an understanding of the dynamics of producing programming through an examination of the departmental functions and decision-making processes of a television station. The lesson also explores how broadcast television has contended with outside variables over the years: regulation, economic fluctuations, relationships with advertisers, and the advent of cable and videocassette recorders (VCRs).
The rise and decline of the broadcast television networks and the programs they brought followed a path from the heyday of the giants to the onslaught of the newcomers. The introduction of cable, and later satellites, shook the industry to its core. Diversity in programming and changes in technology dispersed the power of the networks and set up a competitive environment. Television moved from monopoly to a multichannel universe. Its ability to adapt to such change became a quest for survival.