Television Production

by Elice Miller





In the television business, producing a successful show involves many factors. There are normally three stages to television production, Pre-Production, Principal Photography and Post Production. The main locations where shows are produced are either Los Angeles or New York, however some other U.S. metropolitan areas are also used to produce a show. Before a show can even reach the stage or pre-production programmers will require a package. This is a collection of key assets that differentiate one property from another. The main performers, the producers and the story line are also closely related to the concept and how it will be executed.


Pre-Production is the stage of production which involves planning and development, financing and deal making as well as securing people to produce and appear in the television show. This is the period of time when a series is scripted, the actors are cast, sets are built and a production crew is hired. The producer or production company create a full-scale budget, schedule and production plan once a project is given a green light. The budget must be planned very carefully in order to assure that the project is delivered without exceeding the available funding and to make sure that the producer makes a profit. Pre-production on a show ends once the planning ends and content starts being produced. Most shows do not get a green light, because they cannot secure financing.



Once a network has given a script a green light, it will order a pilot of the television show. Television pilots are standalone episodes of a television series that are used to sell the television show to a network. These episodes are used as testing grounds to gauge if a series will be successful. Sometimes a network will pick up a show after watching a pilot but will not air the episode. Instead, it will be reshot and even recast after it is given the green light. Variety estimates that around 20 pilots are ordered by a network, which are typically made up of half comedy, half drama. About half a dozen of these are actually picked up to become the premier episodes for the show. The rest are passed by the network and generally never seen again.

The big five networks, ABCNBCCBSFox, and CW have ordered nearly 100 pilots for the fall 2013 season. The networks ordered a total of 87 pilots last year. The Hollywood Reporter offered a breakdown of the pilots ordered:

Grand total: 98 (vs. 87 in 2012)
Drama total: 50 (vs. 42 in 2012)
Comedy total: 48 (vs. 45 in 2012)
Single-camera total: 34 (vs. 30 in 2012)
Multicamera total: 14 (vs. 15 in 2012)

Just because a network has picked up a pilot does not mean that it will last throughout the season. If the television show receives low ratings within the first few weeks of airing, a network will normally cancel a show. This spring 2013 saw many new television shows get canceled. Zero Hour (ABC), Do No Harm (NBC), and The Job (CBS) are notable shows that were canceled after airing less than five episodes.

Principal Photography 



This is the phase of production when the actors are finalized for their roles and locations have been secured for filming. At this point the development team has created a plan for filming and financing the show. The term principal photography refers to the phase of production when the majority of footage and sound are recorded. This stage takes place either at a soundstage or filmed on location. Filming on location means securing permits to shoot in an actual real-life setting. Shooting a show normally means rigorous 12-hour workdays. Television episodes are filmed in groups called blocks, and rely on the availability of resources and the restrictions of the production schedule. Large sets can be altered to look like many different locations simply by changing set pieces or lighting. For example, a dark scary park can also be a beautiful garden by using contrasting lighting and changing a few set pieces. Techniques like this help to keep the cost of production down, since this is the most expensive phase of production. Most directors and producers will shoot the most expensive production elements first so that the budget can be allocated for the rest of the scenes.

Post Production

Once the first few episodes of a show have been filmed, the post-production phase begins. All of the footage that has been recorded is edited and sequenced and special effects are added. Sometimes additional dialogue needs to be recorded in the studio and it is layered into the recorded footage. During this last stage of production the production team will screen episodes to their target demographic. This can help gauge the public response to the show and if it is negatively received then it can be altered or reedited before releasing to the public.

Production Companies



Production companies provide the physical basis for filming. Television programs are produced in a variety of entities, from small companies to large multinational corporations. Many corporations employ in-house producers for internal communication reasons. Outside production companies will handle Television networks and local stations will employ producers, who’s main job are to control costs and manage brand identities. Producers are held responsible for a television show’s overall quality and survivability. There are a variety of producers that work on a television show.


Typically, the main producer and the writer are normally the same person; this ensures that a producer can make sure that a project stays true to its brand. There are many different types of producers; the executive producer or the “chief executive” is in charge or everything relating to the production of the show. Executive producers can be the head writers of a show, the CEO of a production company, or a producer on the writing team and may serve on the board of directors. The co-executive producer is second in charge behind the executive producer, and assists with the development and daily management of the show. The associate producer runs day-to-day operations for the show.

Many stations will have producers that work on multiple projects for the network. For example, Seth MacFarlane has three television shows in production on Fox network. Another notable producer is J.J. Abrams, who has produced shows on multiple networks throughout the years.


1. The Business of Television, Bleumenthol & Goodenough














Broader Definition of Television

by Giancarlo Rulli

The “Fiscal Cliff” and the Future of Public Television in the U.S.

If we don’t have an informed electorate we don’t have a democracy. So I don’t care how people get the information, as long as they get it. I’m just doing it my particular way and I feel lucky I can do it the way I want to do it. – Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


The so-called upcoming “fiscal cliff” on Capitol Hill once again has the annual government funds allotted to public television once again in the cross-heirs. Last year, the U.S. spent 430 million dollars to support the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, also known as the CPB. These funds which represented a mere .00012 percent of the 2011 federal budget, were spread across several public broadcasting platforms including PBS, NPR and other various public stations (Bingham, 2012). But that hasn’t kept PBS out of the political spotlight throughout this hotly contested election year. In the first presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney told moderator Jim Lehrer, “I’m sorry Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I actually love Big Bird. I like you too, but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.” Lehrer, a longtime newsman and host of PBS’s arguably most well known news show “Newshour,” chose not to respond to the former Massachusetts Governor’s criticism. At the time, Romney’s vice presidential pick, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), was also a outspoken critic of federal funding for PBS. The Wisconsin Congressman had put provisions in his controversial 2010 budget plan, “The Ryan Budget,” to strip congressional funds to the CPB.

This recent push by House Republicans to strip federal money to public media comes at a very tough time for PBS because not only is PBS under the budget microscope in Congress, but also has received less private donations in recent years. According to the CPB, “between 2008 and 2009, non-federal support of public television stations fell by $260 million nationwide. In addition, for the past several years, Congressional funding has remained relatively flat, at about $400 million a year. For 2010, public radio and TV stations surveyed by CPB projected a 14 percent drop in revenue, due to state cutbacks and declines in corporate and philanthropic support and viewer pledges.” So the question arises, is public television worth the money?

“American” Trust

According to the vast majority of Americans, the answer is yes. In fact, 74 percent of American’s feel that the money PBS receives from the government, corporations, and individuals is well spent. According to a study published this February by Harris Interactive Trust QuickQuerry, PBS ranks number one in public trust at 26 percent. That far surpasses the second place finisher, the U.S. judicial system, which ranks at just 13 percent. The obvious next question arises, why do Americans feel they are receiving trustworthy news and information from their national and locally affiliated PBS stations? The prestigious Columbia Journalism Review stated that PBS and public media are, “held up as the potential savior of serious journalism, the place with the potential to tackle the tough topics—complicated revolutions in Arab lands and zoning board shenanigans alike—that an informed citizenry needs to function.”  Bill Kling, the former president and chief executive of American Public Media, says public broadcasting will eventually be “the last journalism standing,” (Jensen – 2011).

History of Budget Threats

From a historical standpoint, this isn’t the first time PBS and public media have been under fire from conservatives. During the 1970’s, members of the Nixon Administration “were dismayed” with the newly introduced network because of a “perceived liberal bias in news and information programs,” (Blumenthal-Goodenough, 2006). As a result, the growth of PBS was temporarily halted due to actions taken by the Administration and Congress to veto funding measures. These early actions aimed to stymie PBS ended up making it a “membership organization, funded largely by dues paid by locally owned and operated member stations,” (Blumenthal-Goodenough, 2006). With PBS becoming locally owned and operated, problems continue to this day on how public television structure their news and information. According to a recent Aspen Institute Study, “PBS’s national news and information programs are not produced by a single entity but by production companies or member stations in Washington, New York, Boston and Miami for distribution to other stations. Up to now, this has made it more difficult for the program producers to coordinate their efforts and bring their collective strengths to bear on major news stories such as elections or the economic crisis,” (Everhart, 2010).

PBS’ Bill Moyers (AP Photo/Ric Francis)

The Future

In conclusion, public television has the ability to play a important role in meeting the information needs of local communities. In order to survive long into the future however, public television will still need to require outside funding both on the federal and philanthropic level. It will also take collective leadership within PBS to embrace and utilize ever-expanding digital platforms. Signs of this transformation are slowing taking root in public television as this April, “NewsHour…quietly began streaming its newscast online live, for free, on,” (Jensen, 2011). Another recent example of PBS embracing online digital content was when “NewsHour” created the “oil widget,” which allowed people to view “an embeddable player that showed BP footage of the Gulf oil leak with a variety of counters that the user could select from to calculate how much oil was flowing. The oil widget went viral, with 12 million page views by the end of June, and was embedded on 6,000 web pages, (Jensen – 2011). As a direct result, the Columbia Journalism review points out “NewsHour” website traffic in the summer of 2010 ran “40 percent above the previous year,” (Jensen – 2011). This example of remarkable growth is something the PBS will continue to need to capitalize upon in the future. The fact remains, PBS can succeed in a rapidly changing digital age by fully embracing it instead of shunning new ways people access the news and media content. By building on existing strengths that has kept PBS going for decades, nurturing creativity, and developing a strong leadership strutter, public television can modify itself into public media service that meet the needs of the American people.


 Works Cited:

1) Bingham, A. (2012, October 4). Mitt romney can’t roast big bird with pbs cuts. Retrieved from

2) Blumenthal, H., & Goodenough, R. (2006). The business of television. New York, NY: Billboard Books.

3) Corporation for public broadcasting. Retrieved from

4) Everhart, K. (2010, December 13). Knight advisors urge reboot of public broadcasting . Retrieved from

5) Francis, R. (2002, January 1). People moyers. MOYERS PHOTO

6) Harris interactive poll charts. Retrieved from                                    CHART PHOTOS

7) Jensen, E. (2011, July-August). Big bird to the rescue?. Retrieved from

8) Neibergall, C. (2012, October 1). Presidential debate. LEHRER PHOTO

9) Paletta, D. (2012, August 11). What is the ‘ryan budget’?. Retrieved from

10) Pbs newshour. Retrieved from

11) WSJDigitalNetwork. (2012, October 3). Mitt romney loves big bird-presidential debate. Retrieved from


TV Outside of the U.S.

by Marcus Belmore


The past few months have been a time of great action and change in the International Television business. Countries on almost all continents have been busy expanding their markets and sharing programming with one another. As the title “T.V. Outside the U.S” suggests, it is an incredibly broad and expansive topic. It follows, therefore, that this Wiki cannot be taken as a comprehensive, exhaustive compilation of each international-television related business interaction. That having been said, however, this Wiki does well in covering the major players and events in the international television industry from the time of October to December 2011. Each respective region of the world has been given its own section that features the events most important to that region.



The general population of Europe has seen higher prices for ad sales, marking a positive third quarter for the European television industry.1

The European Court of Justice ruled that Internet Service Providers cannot legally be forced to monitor the activity of their users to prevent illegal downloading of content. While this doesn’t have to do directly with television, it may have an impact on the ways in which programmers choose to manage their online content.2

Also, the European Commission has promised a $283 million dollar financial guarantee that is meant to promote the growth of Europe’s cultural television and film. There is also talk that the guarantee will open up better access to bank loans for smaller European producers.3


The BBC struck a deal with Comcast that will distribute BBC’s news channel, BBC World News, to a greater number of viewers than ever before. The channel is already carried by Cablevision and Verizon. The deal more than doubles the channel’s current U.S. distribution, bringing it into almost 15 million U.S. homes by the end of 2012.4

The UK digital and broadband service BT Vision has seen a huge boost in subscribers thanks in part to now carrying U.S. programs as part of its on-demand service.5

Finally, several bids have been put in for the failing company Endemol, most notably from Time Warner and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset.6


Politics and television met when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stepped down from his position. Berlusconi is also a European media mogul, and his poor publicity in part led to a 31% drop in revenue over nine months for his media group Mediaset. 7,8,9


CNC, France’s government-run film and television agency, may have its revenue capped. The French Senate passed a bill that would allow CNC’s revenue stream to stop at $700 million, using the rest of the profits to help support the state budget.10

North America


The Canadian television has done well in the past year. Ad sales grew 9.2% from the previous year, boosting profits to around $3.34 billion dollars.11

The company eOne has also become a major distributor in Canada, picking up major home distribution labels from Vivendi.12



China has vowed to make entertainment one of its “pillar industries,” setting aside 5% of its GDP for the purpose of boosting television and film. This is nearly double the amount of money that it typically spends yearly on the entertainment industry.13

PBS signed a multi-year deal with Chinese Educational Television involving broadcast and distribution. The deal will give PBS programming a daily primetime slot on the channel CETV-3.14


These past few months have found Japan pushing for greater international expansion. It will soon hold the Tokyo TV Forum, at which representatives from several different countries will hear pitches for Japanese-made documentary style shows.15

The Japanese advertising conglomerate Hakuhodo DY Holdings has started a production company, Stories, that is looking to partner with Hollywood in effort to create American productions based on Japanese material.16

The Japanese government is also getting into the media, urging Japan’s major networks to develop cultural-based samurai dramas.17


The past three months have been big for Russia. It has introduced its first new media rules in 20 years. The new rules are geared towards guaranteeing media freedom, taking away much of the regulation that it had in the past. These new efforts were made in effort to boost its economy in the post-economic crisis world.18

The Russian company United Television Holding signed a $300 million dollar deal with the Walt Disney Company that will ultimately allow the Disney Channel to finally have a terrestrial spot in Russia, reaching nearly 40 million households.19


The Indian channel Veria Living has received a $250 million dollar investment from its parent company Zee. The company’s chairman has said that the extra investment is in effort to build a substantial United States viewership for the channel.20

Indian production companies have recently pitched and launched Indian spin-offs of American shows such as 24  and Whose Line is it Anyway?.21

Spain/Central America


The financial crisis has been tough on economies worldwide, and a production company in Spain is trying to boost its viewership by making a show whose main characters are working-class people trying to make ends meet. The company, Vertice 360, is hoping that viewers will empathize with characters in a similar situation to themselves.22

Spanish distributors, much like those in other markets, have been busy shopping around their cartoons internationally. The distributors have been focusing on getting their already established series, such as Pocoyo, into France and the United States in effort to strengthen their international brand.23



Kenya has been especially busy insofar as African television production is concerned. Kenyan producers are trying to take some of the steam away from Spanish and Mexican made telenovelas by using that same format to make distinctly African programming. The idea is to use a well-established and well-received format to tell stories that the people of Kenya can relate to and to draw viewers away from the Spanish shows.24

Kenya is another market that is putting a good deal of emphasis on cartoons, bringing in cartoon and puppet shows from Spain as well as looking internationally for animators to make original content.25

Middle East


In effort to help educate the country’s children, only 13% of whom are enrolled in kindergarten, Afghani local broadcasters will be airing a show designed by the Sesama Workshop. The show, which was partly the idea of the Afghanistan Ministry of Education, will help to bridge the education gap that exists in the country. 26


Programming & Program Development


Tiffany Bender

Programming (n.); refers to the practice of scheduling television programs in a strategic matter in order to increase or maintain viewer retention rates.

Program (n.); also known as television show, produced with the intention of being broadcast locally, nationally, and or internationally. Program content includes (but is not limited to) fiction, non fiction, and news (as seen in the figure above)

Production (n.); from story idea to visual/audio editing, production teams are responsible for bring the program from the drawing board to real life.

The Art of Programming

Programming is a game of chess; with each show as a pawn competing for a primetime slot, and network kings trying to checkmate the next for the top overall ratings.

However all producers and programmers place an emphasis on nightly or weekly ratings. This ultimately decides a shows fate within the network. If shows debut or maintain a less than satisfactory rating, they will produced will be halted and sometimes the show will be pulled off air mid season

Program Genres


Comedy sitcoms are often twenty four to twenty six minutes of scripted situational, loosely real life occurrences that make people laugh. Programmers usually group comedies together in one to two hour segments during primetime as they only run less than a half hour. Comedies are often targeted towards a broader and younger audience.

Comedies are traditionally typed in a studio, mostly in front of a live audience. The plot typically revolves around one set which is split into several different rooms in front of the live audience, very similar to a live theater performance.


Sound Studio: Everybody Loves Raymond (TBS)


Dramas are scripted and carefully written twenty-six to forty plus minutes of plot and characters entangled in webs that leave viewers wanting more. In American culture, these dramas have typically revolved around soap operas; however more recently criminal investigation have become more popular.

The production of dramas is a cross between feature length movies and comedy sitcoms with the regard that they can be filmed in any location. In fact, dramas feed off of the realness of actual locations, extras, etc. Miniseries | Television Movies are often dramas that have either an exact number of episodes (less than a 13-episode season) or are shorter than a feature film to be aired only on televisio


On Location: Law & Order SVU (NBC)

Reality Television

Reality television has recently become the reigning champion of primetime on most cable networks like VH1, Bravo, and E! Reality shows are secretly situational (as opposed to scripted) series that follow the lives of one or more “real life” characters. These real life characters must offer something special to the viewers whether it be lavish lifestyles or living with a debilitating disease; the ultimate rule in reality television is to expose the average audience member to another culture, or socio-economic group in an way that is entertaining and captivating.

Reality shows are cheaper to produce than other programs; however they are a poor long term investment as they are based on current contemporary fads that change with trends and generations.

Fight Scene: Mob Wives (VH1)


The world now revolves around a 24-hour news cycle; therefore traditional news no longer just rotates on the same early morning, evening and late night hours outside of broadcast and basic cable. Some major cable networks are dedicated solely to news such as CNN and MSNBC, however on traditional broadcast station news plays its traditional time slotted role.

For example, ABC runs roughly thirty six hours of news per week beginning with Good Morning America at 6am. News shows filtering throughout the course of the day however never enter primetime slots.

ABC News Set

Children’s Programming

Children’s programming doesn’t typically compete for airtime in on primetime, in fact they don’t compete much outside of their designated networks (for example: Nick, Cartoon Network, Disney). Instead, the networks themselves compete for the most popular and original shows that will build a loyal fan base amongst children.

Spongebob (Nickelodeon)


The Pitch

Programs are the brainchild of writers and or producers who have sometimes spent years working on a show. After several drafts of scripts and tossing around characters –the script is then pitched to a network. Many major networks have a particular brand; therefore shows are pitched accordingly by writers outside of the network. Pitch meetings may be some of the most difficult meetings to

According to Blumenthal and Goodenough’s The Business of Television, pitch meetings happen in one of three ways:

1. A writer’s agent and a network executive “do lunch”, following this meeting a writer begins his own artistic process of creating his work of art.

2. A less popular, specifically with notable writers, is that the writing process begins first and is then pitched to a network.

3. Sometimes a popular celebrity decides that he or she wants to star in a film and with network backing a writer and producer are assign to create a show tailored to the character of that celebrity


Beyond the pitch, network executives want to see what your show can bring on and off the screen; this is known as packaging. Packing a show includes potential product placement opportunities, promotions the show can partner with, and most importantly: online buzz.

Also See

Audience Measurement & Advertising


Big Media


Broader Definition of Television


Legal & Business Affairs




T.V outside the U.S.


The Business of Television, Bleumenthol & Goodenough


by Sara Wiesenfeld


Despite major innovations throughout the world of mass media, television remains a leading force and it’s purpose remains unchanged: deliver vast amounts of advertisements to audiences who have dozens of new ways of avoiding them. Going back to the first invention that provided the world with mass communication (radio) it is clear the function of programming has remain unchanged since it’s development; advertisers fund and enable programming in exchange for publicized association. At it’s time of creation, television executives relied on time periods to determine what age and gender their key audience would be. Since the 80s, thanks to the cable TV, advertisers can more easily target their key audiences through specialized channels. During the 1990s the relationship between cable and advertisers grew stronger, and by the 2000s, TV networks were using branding to pull in the most revenue. However, as with all innovations, the Internet and the DVR (and even the outpour of reality TV programs) have been disruptive for the standard system of television ad sales.

The Real Cost of Production

Many networks have begun operating in a way reminiscent of cable companies; instead of ordering a once standard package of 22-24 episodes, broadcast series are increasingly placing 13 episodes orders. This type of short order is the typical model seen for today’s cable programming. Pricing of ad space remains dependent on time and the popularity of the show.

Despite technologies like the DVR, ad spending grew 8% in 2010. In primetime specifically, there was a 6% increase from 2009, totaling $20 billion spent on television advertisements.

It’s no secret networks love reality TV – it’s cheap, easy to produce and brings in great ratings. Networks want nothing more than to pay as little as possible for the highest ratings possible. A half hour reality show can cost as little as $200,000. $1 million and over is standard for hour-long scripted shows, and just under $1 million for a half hour scripted sitcom is the norm.  [1] [2] [11]

In 2011 Steven Spielberg produced Terra Nova, spending an unheard of $16 million on the two-hour pilot alone.



Programming Trends

Advertisers adjust to market demands. As more specialized channels become available on TV, TV brands have begun targeting specific demographics more specifically than they were ever able to before. For example, Samsung ads used to be targeted at all people under 45; now, they are focused on males under 35, and active and childless 25-34 year olds. The downside to this for the networks and programming is that although they can gear more explicitly towards one type of viewer, it also means there are more networks competing to share the pie (which has remained unchanged in size). [9] [10]

Currently, 53% of all primetime ad space is filled by the standard 30-second commercial; however, in the past year, there has been a noticeable trend towards shorter commercials. Commercials that are 30-second or less increased in number by 12%, while commercials 35-seconds or more decreased 6%. [11]

Women 25-34

This key demographic continues to be “the most valuable audience segment because of both time spent viewing and purchase power.” These women have a large presence in both the home and business environment. Statistically, a large percentage of mothers fall into this category and children have great influence on the success of merchandising.


As of July 2011, 38% of TV households in the US had a DVR system in place. Rating collector company Nielson has developed a complex system to track what programs are being watch via DVR, even if they are watched at a delayed date from the show’s original airtime. However, only 17% of all TV viewing is done via the DVR. Just as in live TV, primetime hours are where DVRs see the most use. [5] [6] [11]

Comedy and Family Programming

After 2006, when loved and highly-rated TV sitcoms came to a final end (Friends, Frasier, Will & Grace, and Everybody Loves Raymond), many feared the end of scripted sitcoms was close. However, the revival of family comedies has put those fears to rest. From 2004 to 2010, the number of hours per week for comedies on ad-supported TV increased by 290 hours. This year, the number rose an additional 70 hours, bringing in this season’s all time high of 870 hours. Despite the average number of TV sets per home in America standing at 2.5 (, during primetime hours around 75% of these homes only have one television set turned on. This means people are watching as families. Half hour family-oriented comedies like Modern Family, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory have been very successful. [7]

3D Television

The integration of 3D digital films into our theatres was a move exhibitors welcomed as it separated the movie experience from any you could previously get online or on your TV. Thinking the same may be applicable to television; in 2010 many TV manufacturers began producing 3D television sets. However, to date, this has not been a successful shift for the television industry. 83% of people say 3D technology isn’t enough to make them want to buy a new TV, and 33% of people don’t even find anything superior in the 3D TV viewing experience. Perhaps if more 3D content is created for television (as many content producers claim will happen) we will see a real trend develop as opposed to a fleeting, unsuccessful fad. [10]


Thanks to the convenience and inexpensiveness of advertising space on the internet, TV networks have seen a decrease in ad income. Even people who have not cancelled their cable subscriptions (another declining stream of revenue) are not as focused on TV as they may have been in the past: 42% of Americans are searching the web while watching TV. This disruptive innovation is no longer something TV can ignore and in accordance, they have begun embracing the internet through digital downloads and streaming. 143.9 million Americans view video online, watching an average upwards of 4 hours and 29 minutes on PCs or laptops.  [10] [11]


Social Media

Subset of changes resulting from the Internet, social media has emerged as a means of mass communication – and in many cases, a way for free advertisement. The first brands to took advantage of this were MTV and VH1. They incorporated social networks like Facebook and twitter in order to create “ complementary experience to the primary television viewing.” This both encourages and enables viewers have an interactive TV watching experience; viewers “tweeting” about a show while watching facilitates ever-coveted word of mouth, creating buzz and excitement without spending money. It also allows TV execs, producers, writers, etc. to get a sense of what their viewers want, like and dislike. [3]

Baby Boomers

The famed “baby boomer” generation has officially begun transcending into the 65+ demographic, a notoriously difficult demographic to reach. With 80 million people who are more technologically savvy than the last generation of 65+ now entering this category, it can no longer fly under the radar. Internet use in people 50 years and older has increased 42% from 2010-2011 alone. [8]



This audience, which only started capturing the attention of big media in the past five years, has quickly become an extremely coveted demographic. The 2010 census let advertisers know just how quickly the Latino population is growing; currently, there are over 50 million Latino’s in America, up 46.3% since 2000.

Last year the number of Hispanic households with TV sets increased three times more than TV households overall. Ad spending for Spanish-language TV has consisntently been climbing, and is expected to bring in 1.5 billion by the end of 2011. For the 2010-2011 season, Univision, the largest Spanish-language network (with audience sizes competing with networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS), was the only major TV network to grow it’s primetime audience among the key 18-49 demographic.

Five years from now, President Cesar Conde (of Univision) predicts Univision will be the number one network in the U.S. [4]

















by William Sharp III

Television Production is a sector of the TV industry that seems to have undergone a vast amount of change in the past few years. Technologically, it appears different than it did just five years ago. The distribution is also dramatically changed, which prompts changes in the development and production planning sectors. However, with all this change, a lot in Television Production has stayed the same.

In this article, we’ re going to cover the steps to creating two television shows. Obviously, it’s impossible to go too in depth, considering the vast disparity between the different types of shows that are produced. There are unscripted reality shows, procedural dramas, sitcoms, daily news shows, news magazine shows, sports shows, and many, many more. I’m going to cover an unscripted reality show as well as a daily news show to demonstrate the disparity between producing an in-studio show as well as a field production.

In addition to that, we’re going to cover the changes in the Production industry, and highlight anything that’s characteristic of this year.


The process of creating a show starts well before anyone even turns on a camera. Most shows start by getting pitched to a network by the show’s producers. The pitch generally includes a written plan as well as an oral presentation, as well as possibly video financed and created by the producer. If the network likes the show, they green light it, and order a certain number of episodes.

For a daily news show, production for each episode might start a few days in advance. Reporter features are assembled and special stories are planned. The main production for the show takes place on the day of the show. Producers come in to the station in the early morning, and begin writing the show. They pull together news from various national and international sources, as well as local sources. Reporters who are doing day-of stories start early in the morning, interviewing sources and shooting video to be incorporated into their packages. When they get closer to show time, the video is loaded into a server, which is hooked, along with a multitude of other video sources (including cameras, graphics generators, and satellite feeds), into a computer-controlled video switcher. The show is set up on a strict time limit, because mostly everything at many news stations is programmed in before the show even begins. This eliminates the need for operators on much of the equipment. Generally, a show can be run with just the director and producer in the control room, and just talent and camera operators on the floor. The show is distributed over the air live and later on the Internet, usually exclusively on the station’s website.

For an out of studio show, it’s totally different. First of all, episodes take far longer to produce. Even South Park, which has literally the tightest timeline in all of scripted television, takes six days to produce an episode. I’m going to be charting the production of one episode of a show on TLC International called “Mission Menu”. It is an unscripted reality show that covers a team of international chefs, who create new menus for failing restaurants. Each episode starts with research. Researchers working on the show search for interesting restaurants that may not be doing as well as they have the potential to do, call them, and gauge their level of interest. If the restaurants were interested, an assistant producer would go to the restaurant, and shoot an audition video. The videos are then cut down by an assistant editor until they include only the most relevant and emotional parts. These videos are then reviewed by a producer, and the producer chooses whether to feature a restaurant on the show. The whole process, from research to confirmation, takes about two weeks.

When it’s time to actually shoot the episode, they do a few days of shooting. Generally, they will shoot one day at the restaurant before the new menu is created, one day in the field with an expert on that type of cuisine, two days in the kitchen working out new recipes, another day at the restaurant teaching the new recipes to the owner and staff, and finally they will shoot the grand re-opening, where the new menu is put to the test of the public. All in all, that’s six days of shooting, and they’re never consecutive. Overall it takes about three weeks for principle photography.

Following principle photography, they move into post-production. Usually post begins as soon as the first day of shooting is wrapped, the video is ingested into the production company’s central server, and the editors start work on it immediately. An assistant editor organizes the shots, then the project is handed over to the principle editor, who assembles the show, polishes it, and finalizes it, it is finished, and then given to the network. Post-production takes generally a few weeks, however it’s important to note that it happens concurrently to production, so it doesn’t add too much time to the overall production.


Changes in the Industry

Production is one facet of the television industry that’s changed almost more than any other in recent years. The most dramatic change has been in video standards, and the equipment used to capture it. In 2005, according to This Business of Television, “the standard for many productions was either Sony’s DVCAM or Panasonic’s DVPro format.” Both of those are high quality standard definition formats. Another thing they both have in common is that neither of them are the standard anymore. The large majority of productions shoot in high definition, either Sony’s XDCAM format, Panasonic’s DVCPro format, or another format such as AVCHD.

The equipment used has continued to evolve, as it has in the past. It’s gotten smaller, cheaper, and higher quality.


  1. Shepherd, Chris. CNY Central. Personal Communication
  2. Fogarty, Kevin. Bray Entertainment. Personal Communication
  3. Balton, Ryan. ESPN. Personal Communication


Legal & Business Affairs

 by Michael Kandel

Recap of 2011’s Legal and Business Affairs in Television. People reading this should not substitute it for what an experienced professional can provide such as an attorney or accountant. This WIKI will provide and give you a sense of what has been going on throughout the year 2011.


During the Fall 2011 semester at Syracuse University, I was enrolled in the Television , Radio and Film Course, Television Business. I was given the assignment to make a WIKI discussing what is going on in 2011 pertaining to the Legal and Business Affairs of Television. I will be using the textbook “The Business of Television” By: Howard J. Blumenthal and Oliver R. Goodenough, printed in 2006 as a guide. The topics I will be going over will be: Contracts, Work Relationships, Unions, Legal Entities, Tax Issues and any events that have happened during 2011. I will briefly discuss what they are and hopefully provide you with examples of each that was brought up in 2011. Please feel free to add anything that is relevant and even post comments.

Information on Contracts

This link, 2011 Screen Actors Guild and Basic Television Contracts, will be able to show you what a valid Current Television contract looks like.

A contract is a binding agreement between two or more parties. There are a few things people should be aware about  when making a legal contract. Contracts can be either verbal or written but are preferred to be written down as it is harder to prove a verbal contract in the court of law1. However an oral contract can be used if a reasonable observer can prove the validity of the contract. In the case Trademark Properties Inc, v. A&E Television Networks there was an oral contract between Richard Davis and his company against A&E Television Networks that stated Richard had an oral agreement to split revenues from the reality television series “Flip This House”. The court ruled in Richard’s favor and was awarded $4 million. The defendants appealed stating that there was a lack of evidence and that the oral contract to split revenues had not been reached. The Appelate court in the Fourth Circuit upheld the jury’s decision 2:1. The reason why it was upheld was because the court found the oral contract to be reasonable and true2.

By writing down the agreement, allows both parties to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. An oral contract can be risky when it is used in a court of law which is why it is preferred to have a written agreement between both parties so that no conflicts can arise in the future.

Rentrak which provides media measurement and analytical services3 signed a contract with SHORTS HD international as of October 11, 2011. Shorts had its U.S. launch in 2010 and with the help ofRentrak’s service, Shorts HD will be able to see TV viewing data from millions of reporting households4. Rentrak serves the most recognizable companies in the entertainment industry and they will help grow Shorts content and advertising opportunities.

Information on Work Relationships      

Keeping a business relationship is an important aspect for the growth of the business. It is important to have respect in a business relationship. You want the other party to feel safe and appreciated. Another way in building a better relationship is being open and honest with each other. One can do this by clearly communicating to the other party the good and the bad. It also helps to be an effective listener as you show you care for what they have to say.12

Check out this article (click here)  as it shows how competitive Television Markets are familiar with each other.

Information on Unions

An article(SAG Board Expected to Proceed with AFTRA Meger) posted by the Los Angeles Times on December 13th 2011 talks about how the Screen Actor’s Guild president, Ken Howard, is underway at merging the SAG and the American Federation of Television and Federal Arts. Howard is optomistic about a Jan. 22 meeting to complete the merging agreement.  Digital distribution has posed a threat to members and had affected the traditional amount of income they would normally receive.6 The purpose of the merger is to give members more bargaining power in their contracts. Former SAG president, Alan Rosenberg, is against this idea as he fears the merger into a larger union would leave actors with less of a voice.

Information on Legal Entities

When deciding the type of entity to choose from, a business would look at the advantages and disadvantages that are offered for each.

The most popular types of entities to choose from are:

  1. Corporation (C-Corp)
  2. Partnership
  3. S-Corporation
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  5. Sole Proprietorship

This link (click here) will provide you with detail about each entity.

Another popular form of entity is a Loan-Out Corporation which is a separate entity that is set up for an actor/actress. People invested with a Loan-Out Corporation because of the tax advanatges ffor the corporation such as no payroll taxes. Currently, people keep loan out corporations with purpose of using it for  pension planning, profit-sharing plans or health insurance. 11

Information on Tax Issues

People working in television business that do not have a permanent business affiliation will look at ways to deduct its expenses with the goal of paying as little taxes as possible.

The following is useful in preparing 2010 Returns. For more information click here

Lookinging at IRS Publication 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses we can see possible deductions employees can take. Focusing in on the Entertainment part, employees can take a deduction on entertainment expenses if they are entertaining a customer, client or employee. By looking at the chart below, you will be able to understand the rules and definitions of taking that entertainment deduction.10

General rule

You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses to entertain a client, customer, or employee if the expenses meet the directly-related test or the associated test.


Entertainment includes any activity generally considered to provide entertainment, amusement, or recreation, and includes meals provided to a customer or client.

An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business.

A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate.

Tests to be met Directly-related test

Entertainment took place in a clear business setting, or

You did engage in business with the person during the entertainment period, and

You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit.

Main purpose of entertainment was the active conduct of business, and

Associated test

Entertainment is associated with your trade or business, and

Entertainment directly before or after a substantial business discussion.

Other rules You cannot deduct the cost of your meal as an entertainment expense if you are claiming the meal as a travel expense.

You cannot deduct expenses that are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.

You generally can deduct only 50% of your unreimbursed entertainment expenses (see 50% Limit).

Business related meals and expenses are deducutible up to 50% unless its an:

1. Employee Reimbursed Expense. Meaning an employee can’t take a deduction from a meal if the employer reimburses you.

2. Self Employed. If you are self employed than you are not allowed to take the 50% deduction on meals and entertainment if all of the following are conditions are met.

  • Expenses are incurred as an independent contractor. An independent contractor is self-employed.
  • You are reimbursed by the customer or client for expenses incurred.
  • Provide adequate records of expenses to client or customer.

3. Advertising Expenses. Not subject to the 50% if you provide meal an entertainment to the general public in hope of promoting or advertising goodwill in the community.

4. Sale of meals or entertainment. Cannot take 50% if you actually sell meats, or good to the public inlcuding facilities.

5. Charitable sports event. You are not subject to the 50% if you pay for a sports package deal that includes a ticket to a qualified sporting event.

The entertainment deduction will depend on the type of business you have.

Miscellaneous Events that Happened in 2011 to keep you up to date!

ABC’s Daniel Burke died at 82 as reported in the Wall Street Journal on October 27,2011. He was responsible for engineering the acquisition of the American Broadcasting Company in the 1980’s.

Mark Burnett innovates television by partnering up with ACTV8. Mark plans to bring in a whole new audience as he plans to attract a bigger  audience and increase participation in television. The article further explains that anyone with an iPAD, iPhone or Android can interact, socialize, consume and participate in real time while watching their favorite television shows.

An article posted by Vairety on June 12, 2007,Vokulich gets a CW Biz Role, talks about how Rich Vokulich left CBS Paramount to become the new head of business affairs at CW.7 However four years later(click here for article) his services at the broadcast network were no longer needed.8

Jeffrey Schneider was named Executive Vice President of NBC Universal’s new position. He will be in charge of the Business Affairs, Entertainment and Digital Networks and Integrated Media. He will oversee negotiation, acqusitions for various networks including, Telemundo, Bravo Media, mun2, Oxygen Media and Style and even digital businesses such as iVillage, Daily Candy, Swril and Fandango. Jeffrey Schneider being promoted is not to be confused with the Jeffrey Schneider over at ABC who si the SVP of communications for ABC News.


This is what has been going on in the Legal and Business Affairs for 2011. Please feel free to comment and even add something to the WIKI.

Broader Definition of Television

by Chelsea Vena

Public Television


No national public broadcasting service existed before the late 1960s. But by 1980 local public television stations formed the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) to support a strong and financially sound noncommercial television service. [1] 

The mission of APTS is to conduct – in convert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for American people. [2]

Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

The CPB is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes the growth and development of public media in communities throughout America. CPB has been the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting and the largest single source of funding for public radio, television, and related online and mobile services. Though CPB produces no programming they make some programming available through PBS, NPR, American Public Media, and Public Radio International (PRI).  CPB helps support production of broadcast programs. CPB distributes more than 70 percent of its federal funds directly to stations throughout the country. [3]

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

PBS considers themselves “America’s largest classroom” as well as the “ nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world.” PBS has shows hundreds of original programs including news shows.  There are local PBS affiliates in most major markets. PBS Kids has had great success and has even launched kids educational video games, videos, “apps,” and activities for their shows.  PBS programming covers arts and entertainment, culture and society, health, history, home and how-to, news and public affairs, parents, science and nature, technology, and food. PBS gets its’ funding for these programs and their stations through member stations’ dues, the CPB, government agencies, foundations, corporations and private citizens. The government intervention in conducting public broadcasting has three major components: allocating spectrum, regulating sponsorship, and providing financial support. [4] [5]


Home Shopping

Short-form direct response: per inquiry

Per Inquiry advertising is an alternative to the traditional advertising seen on television. PI ads are run for “a fee based on the number of calls that are generated through a dedicated toll-free number that is exclusive to each station or network.” An independent telemarketing company is hired to track these calls. This type of advertising is used to test out ads whose company may not have the funds for a traditional advertising model. [6]


Many stations, including some of the largest networks, sell their overnight airtime for use as paid programming. It is a cheap alternative to airing original or syndicated programs. It is important to actually sell the product being advertised at the time the program airs since the infomercial provider needs to make up for the money spent on that time slot. The program must effectively demonstrate how the products work in an obvious and unique manner. Celebrity endorsements are often used as a selling tool as well. It is important to make sure your cost of goods are low and you have a good potential profit margin. Since direct response television deals with so many statistics in order to sell their product effectively, service firms have sprouted due to a need for data collection and analysis. [4]

Shopping Networks

The two major players in Home Shopping television networks are HSN (Home Shopping Network) and QVC (Quality, Value, Convenience). Though HSN was the first network to emerge, QVC has since become the industry leader. Both networks use their 24 hours a day for selling products over the airways. The majority of those sales are in jewelry, though they cover everything from home décor to sports equipment. HSN can be watched streaming from your computer or mobile device. QVC also has mobile apps to watch and purchase its’ programs and products. Last year, QVC received more than 181 million phone calls in the United States alone, and shipped 166 million units worldwide.” QVC presents more than 1,000 products each week. [4] [7] [8]

Government Regulation

Television shopping did not become possible until 1981 due to FTC regulations. However, with those restrictions changed shopping channels and infomercials are now commonplace and subject to the general FTC and FCC rules governing truthful advertising and sales.  As “ must-carry” laws are being revisited due to their inconsistency with the First Amendment, the carrying of home shopping networks could be threatened. [4] [9]

Religious Television

There are a number of religious television programs and networks on the air today. Christianity is the most common religious programming seen on television. Christian Television Ministries are nonprofit corporations whose main purpose is to spread the word of God. Their programs are often seen throughout the world. Religious television networks operate with a combination of broadcast and cable outlets. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is the world’s largest religious television channel. Over 5,000 television stations, 33 satellites, the Internet, and thousands of cable systems televise their programming. These programs and networks are also used to raise money for religious and educational purposes. Religious television is considered educational programming and operates under the same type of broadcast license as many public television stations. [4] [10]

Home Video

Video Rentals

Home video has changed significantly since the introduction of the VCR in 1976. From VCRs came DVDs and now we have Blue Ray for a higher quality viewing. Rentals of tapes, DVDs, and Blue Ray discs from a store (i.e. Blockbuster) have declined significantly over recent years. Redbox has become a popular way to rent movies and video games. Redbox is a fully automated video rental store in the form of a kiosk. There are more than 28,000 locations currently throughout the US. Customers are allowed to rent and return their DVDs to any location. Netflix is a very popular rental service that allows their subscribers to television episodes and movies streaming on their website or delivered to their home through the mail. Netflix charges its customers $7.99 a month for unlimited movies and shows. This approach has led Netflix to become the leading online subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet. They currently have more than 25 million members globally. Cable and satellite providers also offer Video On Demand services to their customers. These services usually allow customers access to movies, television series, comedy shows, documentaries, and special programs for free or for an additional fee. [4] [11] [12]

Self-made Television

Today there are many ways that ordinary people create and share their own home videos through the Internet. With video cameras small enough to fit in your pocket, one your phone and in your computer, it has never been easier to create your own videos. Sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and various blogs allow anyone to sign up and post homemade videos. These sites allow producers of any skill level to share their work and be recognized. These videos are can be seen by millions of people and sometimes get international recognition.

Streaming Television

Aside from those mentioned there are many other websites with video services. Streaming and downloading video has become a very popular way to watch television shows and movies. Streaming allows viewers convenience by giving them various mediums to watch their programming. Videos can be streamed from computers, tablets, mobile phones and through your television through Set-Top Boxes. Hulu, a popular streaming site, partners with various media companies to provide free streaming of movies and shows with some commercial interruption. Many networks also post their own shows a few days after the initial airing, usually containing some commercial interruption as well. Unfortunately there are many illegal sites as well that stream movies and shows at no cost to customers. Some channels, such as HBO, have launched program websites and apps specifically for their customers to access all of their videos straight from their computer or mobile device. Most HBO subscribers have access to HBOGO, a site and app where they can view past and current programs from HBO at no additional charge. [13] [14]

Vudu Set-top box


Digital and High-Def Television

Since 2009 the United States now broadcasts solely in digital television. Digital television (DTV) has many advantages over analog. For starters the picture is better quality on small and large screens. TV stations now have the ability to “ multicast” or broadcast several signals using the same bandwidth. Broadcasters can also include interactive content or additional information with the new signal. DTV also has the ability to support high-definition broadcasts. High-definition television (HGTV) is the top tier of digital signals. Most broadcast stations now have an HD channel as well as a standard digital channel. However, these channels can only be viewed if you have the right equipment: a way to receive the signal (antenna, cable, or satellite service) and an HDTV set. [15] [16]

DTV Format Comparison
Transmission Type
Analog Digital Digital Digital Digital
NTSC Standard Definition Standard Definition High Definition High Definition
Maximum Resolution 480i 480i 480p 720p 1080i
Aspect Ratio 4:3 4:3 4:3 or 16:9 16:9 16:9
Channel Capacity 1 5-6 5-6 1-2 1
Description Standard TV as we know it today Good Picture and Sound —DVD or DBS Quality Better, depending on source; can be outstanding Best Possible Best Possible



4. Blumenthal, H. J., & Goodenough, O. R. (2006). This Business of Television: The Standard Guide to the Television Industry (3rd Edition ed.). New York, New York, United States of America: Billboard Books.
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Big Media

by Matthew Cohn

In today’s media marketplace, the industry is dominated by enormous companies whose assets include most of the nation’s leading television and radio stations, all of the largest broadcast and cable networks, and many of the largest studios and production companies. Some of these big media companies have been around since before television, and all have grown through acquisitions. These companies that are considered “Big Media” own and operate many smaller companies, which are all independently managed. It is likely that most of the consumers these companies target don’t even know who owns what or how big these companies truly are.

What is Big Media?

The term “Big Media” is used to describe the media industry, which is dominated by “Big Media” companies. All of the major companies prospered through acquisitions, otherwise known as conglomeration. A media conglomerate owns companies in various mass media such as TV, Film, Radio, Publishing, and Internet. It has become necessary for the largest media companies to own a major asset associated with every aspect of the media business. A fully integrated media conglomerate would likely include at least one motion picture and television production studio, one or more cable or broadcast networks (for distribution), a combination of print and web assets (for promotion), and a range of local media, including television stations, radio stations, newspapers, and other related assets. Of course, large media companies routinely do business with one another, but by doing business within the same conglomerate, it creates a synergy that increases the amount of revenue. A TV series can be produced, distributed, and syndicated all under the same corporate umbrella. Vertical Integration and Synergy are two common terms associated with big media, both pretty much summing up the way a company can “vertically integrate” its product across different platforms to create a “synergy” within a company.

Rules Governing Big Media

Large media companies are controlled similar to other large U.S. corporations. In regard to content and advertising, some of these regulations are based upon law and others are general guidelines self-imposed and self-regulated by each media industry. For a complete list of Broadcast Ownership Rules, click here

Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, otherwise known as Fin-Syn rules, were rules put into effect by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in 1970. Basically, the FCC thought the big media companies had too much control over the television industry, thus creating unfair competition in the market. For example, a network could only broadcast shows created by its own studio, even if there were better options in the marketplace. At the time, there were only three broadcast networks and the FCC didn’ t want them to monopolize the market. Under the Fin-Syn rules, none of the networks could broadcast any prime-time programming in which they had a financial stake or interest in. Thus, many of the big media companies were forced to sell or let go of their production studios. In 1993, the Fin-Syn rules were abolished, which led to where we are today. For more on the Fin-Syn history, click here

The Big Media Companies

The largest media companies today are known as “The Big 6.” All have major assets in the TV, Film, Internet, and Publishing industries.

  • Disney (ABC)
  • Comcast (NBC)
  • News Corporation (FOX)
  • CBS (CBS)
  • Time Warner (CNN, HBO)
  • Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central)


The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 and is one of the most well-rounded entertainment companies in the world. The four major components are their media networks, studios, consumer products, and amusement parks.

Media Networks

Thanks to the elimination of the Fin-Syn rules, Disney took ownership of ABC Television Network in 1995. Included in ABC’s network is ABC Studios, as well as ESPN and its many sister networks. Other channels include ABC Family, Disney Channel, History Channel, and more.


Disney owns a majority ownership stake in Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, owner of 277 radio stations in the US.


Disney operates book publishing, magazine publishing, music recording, and even Marvel Comics.


Disney is most known for its film business. Most famous is Walt Disney Pictures which is home to its animation studio. Also, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Pixar Animation Studios, and more.


Disney owns theme parks worldwide and even a cruise line. Disney success early on can be credited to its Consumer Products business, especially Mickey Mouse. Disney still is one of the most powerful consumer product companies in the world.

For a complete list of Disney’s holdings, click here
For more on Disney’s Company Overview, click here
For more on Disney’s History, click here


Comcast’s power base comes from its near monopoly on cable service to nearly a third of all U.S. households. Although always a major player, Comcast was not really considered a “Big” until its take over of a majority share of NBC-Universal from General Electric. Comcast owns 51% of NBCU, GE owns 49%. General Electric has long been considered a “Big,” but their main business operations are not in the media industry, especially since Comcast’s acquisition of majority share. Comcast is one of the largest cable and internet service providers, and combining them with one of the biggest producers of TV and movies makes them one of the most powerful corporations in the industry.

For more on the Comcast/NBCU Transaction, click here


Comcast owns NBC Network, including all of its local stations, Telemundo, CNBC, as well as multiple sports networks under the Comcast Sports Net name. Comcast is also one of the largest cable providers in the US.


Comcast is one of the nation’s largest Internet Service Providers.


Comcast owns Universal Pictures, Focus Pictures, Rogue Pictures, as well as Universal Studios Home Entertainment, a distribution unit.


Comcast is very unique compared with the other members of the Big 6. Comcast, whose headquarters are in Philadelphia, PA, owns both the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), and the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL). Comcast also owns the Wachovia Center, where the teams play.

For a complete list of Comcast’s holdings, click here

For more on Comcast’s company overview, click here

News Corporation

Under Rupert Murdoch’s leadership, News Corporation has become one of the most powerful companies in the TV and Film industries.


News Corp. owns FOX as well as 16 owned and operated Fox Regional Sports Networks. Also, Fox News and National Geographic Channel. Production companies include 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Television Studios.


News Corp. owns 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, and Searchlight Pictures.


News Corp. owns HarperCollins Publishers, as well as more than 150 newspapers and numerous magazines.


Online properties include,,, and more


News Corp also owns the National Rugby League.

For a complete list of News Corporations holdings, click here

For more on News Corporations company overview, click here

Time Warner

Time Warner Inc. is one of the most diversified Big Media companies, with holdings that include Time Inc., HBO, Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Time Warner owns some of the strongest cable networks including CNN, TNT, TBS, and more. Time Warner also owns 50% of the CW Network (CBS owns the other half).


Time Warner has built its company off being an early innovator in cable TV. Time Warner owns some of the most valuable cable channels today, including HBO, Cinemax, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, as well as all of CNN’s international programming. Also, Time Warner owns Warner Bros. Television group, one of the best production companies in the TV industry today.


Time Warner owns some of the best production companies, including Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, and more.


Along with the digital properties of,, and other cable channels’ websites, Time Warner owns America Online and all of AOL’s properties.


Time Warner is arguably the strongest of the Big 6 when it comes to publishing. Its properties include Time Inc, Time Warner Book Group, DC Comics, People magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and more.

For more on Time Warner Inc., click here

For a complete list of Time Warner Inc., holdings, click here


Viacom’s history is unique in that it was created out of the original Fin-Syn rules in 1971, when CBS was forced to leave the program syndication business and let go of ownership of Viacom. Viacom became so big that in 2000 they merged with CBS, only to split again in 2005, leaving Viacom and CBS Corp. as two separate companies. Viacom’s power is built around is TV and film assets.


Viacom television properties include some of the strongest channels including MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, VH1, and Spike.


Viacom owns Paramount Pictures, which includes Dreamworks and MTV Films.

For more on Viacom, click here

For more on Viacom’s history, click here

For a complete list of Viacom’s holdings, click here


CBS is one of the oldest networks, as its roots trace back to 1928 when it was a collection of 16 radio stations, and then one of the first television broadcast networks. CBS is the number one broadcast network in the country, and has strong international distribution.


CBS is the number one rated network in America, with top shows such as Survivor, CSI, and Two and a Half Men, all of which sell internationally. CBS also owns Showtime, one of the top pay cable networks. CBS also owns 50% of the CW Network (Time Warner owns the other half).


CBS still is active in its original business, radio, and owns 130 stations in 29 different markets.


CBS owns Simon & Schuster, one of the largest book publishing companies.


CBS’ online properties are very strong, especially,, and

For more on CBS, click here

For a complete list of CBS properties, click here

*It is worth noting that National Amusements has a controlling interest in both CBS and Viacom, but both operate individually.

The Next Level Down

After the Big 6, there are other large media companies, but none are nearly as diversified as the Big 6 companies.

Some worth noting, and their core business:


Cox Enterprises



The New York Times Company

The Washington Post Company

Hearst Corporation