The Media & Entertainment Industrial Complex

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Media like all industries runs on cash and debt.   Executives maximize the revenue streams by cost-saving technology and increasing revenue.  A variation on this equations is similar for government and nongovernmental institutions.


The assets of the media industrial complex aren't physical like mining minerals and manufacturing.  In MEPD creative and intellectual property generates revenue.


Taking the astronomical celebrity salary out of the equation, how much money do you think is circulating in the M&E business?


According to a research report published by global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, M&E global annual revenue will grow to $2.2 trillion by  2021, and spending on MEPDE will reach $720 Billion. In 2017 U.S. Internet advertising revenue exceeded broadcast television advertising for the first time.


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Internet television (IPTV) is now ubiquitous.  Some industry observers predict the imminent demise of CATV (cable television) and over the air (OTA) broadcast linear appointment broadcasting. It’s a safe bet that linear going away any time soon.  

The disruptive power of the internet changes how we interact with linear broadcasting.  The M&E industry is changing and a new generation of consumers are leading the way.


While most media tech innovations are incremental, disruptive technology transforms the way entertainment and information media is produced and delivered.  




Welcome to the Glamourous Word of MEPD




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Successful producers and distribution specialists are drawn to the ME business-wide because of a range of personal motivations.  Some enjoy the collaborative creative process.  Some enjoy creating magical illusions.  

You might be motivated to pursue a career in MEPD because you can see the results of your work and it’s effect on audiences.  Many other occupations provide similar satisfaction.  Some with more stress and others with less.



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Non-Profit Production & Distribution



Public television networks such as  PBS and BBC World Service are funded by viewers, underwriters, and government grants.   commercial model. For example, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC ) funded by advertising revenue supplemented by government subsidies.  In many countries, state television produces public interest broadcasts to be compatible with propaganda objectives.


Public, educational, and government (PEG) television don’t make money.  These broadcasts inform or persuade their audience.


Non-commercial public access, educational, and government television are mass media where ordinary people can create television programming content.   The channels are reserved free or at minimal cost.  Local origination television focuses on matters of community interest, typically produced nonprofit organizations or civic-minded individuals.   


Non-commercial user-generated content (UGC) refers to Non-PEG television created by organizations and individuals. UGC production parallels the growth and development of consumer movie and television equipment. Production and distribution of film evolved into videotapes and disks.  Currently, UGC accounts for more than half of all video available from  Content Delivery Networks (CDN) such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia. Brightcove, SproutVideo, and several Amazon VOD and streaming platforms host business and professional video.

The term network has different definitions depending on whether  you’re discussing the production or distribute. It’s a simple to disambiguate. From the production perspective, networks refer to the IT infrastructure.  In distribution, networks refer to companies that produce one or more several channels for distribution.


In the U.S, the “big four” broadcast networks are subsidiaries of media conglomerates which own production studios and television stations.   Several of these conglomerates own telecommunications companies and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD).  


MVPDs provide up to 1000 channels video programming services for a non-trivial subscription fee.  Multiple-system operator (MSO) operate multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems.


In the US, all commercial television stations are licensed by the FCC.  


Local commercial spots playout in predefined gaps in a network or syndicated programming, which are funded by national commercial advertisement spots.   Licensed non-commercial stations are prohibited from airing commercials.  Public broadcasting production and operations are underwritten by member contributions, foundations, institutions, and corporations.  


In addition to broadcasting programs distributed by their affiliated network, most television stations produce their own programming, typically local news, traffic information, and weather.   


Several media companies own independent television stations, most of which are affiliates of one of the big four networks. Several of these media companies operate central cast hub facilities consolidate master control functions for distribution of programming to individual stations located throughout the country.


Media & Entertainment Distribution

The table below lists the most popular types of programs produced for broadcast television.  Each of these program types has a story part of the payload.  Unless they have no story and are poorly produced..  In which case the viewers will be bored.  And you know what happens next.













According to Gardner in 2017, 43% of the television media consumed scripted movies and mini-series. This table lists the most popular according to IMDB. Movies often combine several genres.




Scripted movies and television series are still distributed physical optical media, such as Blu-Ray and DVD.  


In television distribution, the term linear refers to programming that the distributor broadcasts according to their schedule.  Non-linear is the term used to describe video-on-demand, where you decide what you want to watch when and on which device.


Linear transmission includes terrestrial over-the-air, live internet streaming,  and multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD).  If you’re not in the business, you know MVPD as direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and cable television (CATV).













Traditionally, audiences consumed media on television, theaters, and private venues.  Since the beginning of this century,  on-demand and streaming IP-based technologies are replacing celluloid, videotape, and other physical media.





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