|Chapter 5 |
Related WebsitesYahoo's Television LinksHip TV DatabaseTV Theme Song GameOpen Directory of Soap OperasYahoo's List of Actors and ActressesCable This WeekYahoo! PlatinumCable ThisWeekBroadcasting & Cable Magazine Online
Chapter 5 - Broadcast and Cable TV Today
The popularity of television with American viewers has made it an important and highly profitable business. However, it is also a business in transition, facing new competition for viewers and from new technologies.
More than 1,700 TV stations compete for audiences. Commercial stations earn their revenue primarily from advertising sales. Noncommercial stations rely on government funds, grants, and donations from viewers. Television stations are of two main types: VHF stations (213), and UHF stations (channels 14 and above). VHF stations are generally more watched and more profitable.
Network television is a segment of the TV business in which local TV stations agree to carry programs from a major network in return for a share of their advertising slots. In recent years, compensation paid by the network has declined for network affiliates. The network business was dominated for many years by ABC, CBS, and NBC. Newer networks are now on the scene, including Fox, UPN, WB, and Pax TV.
The local television business relies on sales to local and regional advertisers. The most successful local TV stations are those owned and operated by a major network, or those owned and managed by a large-TV-station group owner. Weaker TV stations include independents and low-power operations. About 400 stations are public television operations. PBS provides programming to most of these stations, and its children's shows, news, and documentaries have attracted viewers and continuing government support.
Cable television has grown in recent years to become an important component of the television landscape. Cable is in more than two-thirds of Americas TV homes, and more than 200 different program services compete for space on the cable. The cable business makes its money by marketing and selling to different levels of customer homes. Revenues are enhanced by moving customers from basic service to pay, multipay, and new services, including Internet access and local telephone service. The cable business is dominated by large, multiple-system operators, most of whom also have ownership interest in cable programming services, telephone services, and broadcast TV services.
Both broadcast and cable television facilities are organized into separate staffs, which typically include general management; programming; sales, marketing, and promotion; and engineering. Job growth has been noted in the marketing and sales areas, as well as in local news, as cable systems and local TV stations aggressively court viewers faced with more and more options.
In general, the best salaries are earned by employees of large TV stations and cable systems, and by employees in sales or general management. While opportunities for women and members of ethnic minority groups have risen in recent years, the television industry still lags behind other industries in employment and salary equity.