The business side of TV
June 6, 2012 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I want to understand the TV industry from a business perspective. Things like, the relationship between production companies, networks, cable channels, and cable providers. Are there any (recent) books, as well as particularly insightful blogs or other online resources that get into the economic side of television?
posted by coffee and minarets to Work & Money (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Did you see this recently-sidebarred comment from Navelgazer?
posted by axiom at 3:57 PM on June 6, 2012

The Future of TV blog by mefi's own Michael Pusateri is a great place to start.
posted by anildash at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2012

Start reading Deadline religiously, and it might start making sense after a while.

There is a lot of jargon, and I think once you start figuring out what all of it means, the rest sort of falls into place. Learning terms like "upfronts", "put pilot", "shingle", "back nine", etc. is half the battle.
posted by Sara C. at 4:20 PM on June 6, 2012

I don't think people realize how much information is published in annual reports that public companies file with the SEC (form 10-K). The "Business" section of a 10-K is concise, written in plain english and filled with interesting information.

Search here by company name or ticker, then type "10-K" in the filing type box on the next page.

The big players: Viacom (VIA), Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX), CBS Corp (CBS), News Corp (NWSA), Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), DISH Network (DISH)

But don't forget smaller players, which will probably be more helpful digging into smaller areas of focus. Examples: Scripps (SNI), AMC Networks (AMCX), Belo Corp (BLC), Sinclair Broadcasting (SBGI), Outdoor Channel (OUTD)
posted by mullacc at 4:25 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

What do you want to know? Anything specific? I could go on for days.
posted by Argyle at 4:29 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

So there's two sides of this question. One is about show production and the creation and selling of shows, I don't know much about that.

The other is the distribution side, try these:
Multichannel News and Light Readingfor business
ITVT Interactive TV news
GigaOM Video(liked it better when it was New TeeVee)
posted by bitdamaged at 4:41 PM on June 6, 2012

Check out the Communications Daily newsletter. I think it publishes just the kind of news you're looking for. It does require a subscription, but looks like they do a thirty day free trial.
posted by imalaowai at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2012

Vogel's Entertainment Industry Economics is the classic text for financial analysts. The most recent edition (eighth) was published a year and a half ago. As its title suggests, it covers more than just TV, but the linkages among media are increasing.
posted by drdanger at 6:31 PM on June 6, 2012

Much of the first half of Those Guys Have All the Fun dealt with these issues, at least with respect to ESPN becoming the juggernaut it is today. It's not super detailed, but does give you a sense of how some of these issues play out.
posted by soonertbone at 11:47 AM on June 7, 2012

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