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Media Ownership and Concentration in America$
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Eli Noam

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195188523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188523.001.0001

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The Need for a New Concentration Index for Media

The Need for a New Concentration Index for Media

(p.410) (p.411) 17 The Need for a New Concentration Index for Media
Media Ownership and Concentration in America

Eli M. Noam

Oxford University Press

Data in this chapter show that mass media in the United States have, in the aggregate, steadily increased in concentration since 1988. But they also show that the concentration on a national basis is usually fairly low by the standards of US antitrust. Here, the official US Government guidelines define an unconcentrated industry as having a Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index (HHI) of less than 1,000. But the problem with the HHI (and the C4) is that although it considers market power, which is essential, it does not make allowance for pluralism, which is also essential. That is, it looks only at actual choices rather than at options. This chapter proposes a new measure for media concentration, known as the Media Ownership Concentration and Diversity Index. It takes into account the regular HHI for market power (the sum of squared market shares) as well as the number of voices in a media market. As one divides concentration by voice value, the ratio (the index) rises in size with more market concentration and with less diversity, and declines with less concentration and more diversity.

Keywords:   United States, mass media, media concentration, Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index, media market, options, market power, voices

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