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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 Dynamics of Media Concentration: A Model

The Dynamics of Media Concentration: A Model

(p.33) 2 The Dynamics of Media Concentration: A Model
Media Ownership and Concentration in America

Eli M. Noam

Oxford University Press

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

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