The Real Reason Media Consolidation Is Bad

“The familiar argument against such concentration is that, by giving a small number of companies too much control over the flow of information and content, it erodes democracy. But the problem isn’t just that a small number of companies run the media business right now; it’s that, under the current system, the same companies will likely be running the media business twenty years from now. Media concentration would be fine if there were genuine competition, but, practically speaking, there isn’t very much (at least, on the broadcast and programming side), thanks to the regulatory reforms of the early nineties (which, among other things, allowed TV networks to own their own shows, instead of having to buy them from outside studios) and the merger boom of the past few years.”

Tonys Trounced By Hillary

Despite lots of star power this year, Sunday night’s Tony telecast dropped audience from last year. “The telecast, which expanded from two hours last year to three hours this year, averaged 7.9 million viewers, down a bit from last year’s average of 8 million viewers.” Sunday’s big winner was Barbara Walters’ interview with Hillary Clinton, which drew 13 million viewers.

Trying To Lure The Young With Arts

Cincinnati is losing its 20-somethings, who are moving out of the city. But instead of trying to lure new businesses to the city in an effort to keep its younger citizens, the city is promoting lifestyle and the arts. “New plans promote sidewalk cafes, hip local music and an energized entertainment strip. Attention to arts, culture and downtown living are replacing old ideas about building new department stores and riverfront towers. ‘I would love to see a Cincinnati that has sidewalks full of people after the offices close, that has local music all the time, that has people attending arts events on a regular basis’.”

Studios Take Action Against Late Scripts

TV studios and network executives are cracking down on writers and directors who deliver their scripts late. “A survey found that of the 651 hourlong episodes studied in the latest survey, 333 (51%) were on time, while 318 (49%) were late from one to 15 days, while 20% of the late scripts were late by as many as seven to 15 days.” Studios say the late scripts add greatly to the budgets of the shows.

Corporatizing The Juice Out Of Radio

Those who think that the corporatization of hasn’t destroyed local radio aren’t listening to radio. “Radio stations where unknown bands might once have come knocking at the door no longer even have doors. They have become drone stations, where a once multifarious body of music has been pared down and segmented in bland formats, overlaid with commercials. As record companies scramble to replicate the music that gets airplay, pop music is turning in on itself and flattening out.”

St. Louis: Record Ticket Sales, But $1.6 million Loss

The St. Louis Symphony sold a record number of tickets this season, and for the first time box office exceeded $4 million. Still, “even with the strong ticket sales last season, the symphony will show an operating loss for fiscal 2003 of $1.6 million, as predicted by the long-term financial restructuring plan of the symphony. Ticket revenue makes up just 35 percent of the symphony’s expenses, with annual giving contributing 25 percent and concession and miscellaneous revenue accounting for 15 percent.”

The World’s Smallest Book

A book of the New Testament is so small it fits on the tip of an eraser. “According to the latest version of Guinness Book of World Records, the five-millimeter-square tablet is the smallest reproduction yet of a printed book. It was created in 2001 by two scientists in the field of object recognition, who call it a tool for archiving and authentication.”