TV Broadcast & Cable Networks
Companies in this industry broadcast television programs for free to the public and for cable subscribers. In the US, major broadcast TV networks are ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, while leading basic-cable networks include ESPN, Fox News, USA Network, and Univision. Other leading companies include Luxembourg-based RTL Group (owned by Germany's Bertelsmann), Japan's Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK, also called Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the UK's ITV, and Italy's Mediaset.
Global TV broadcast and cable network industry revenues -- from broadcast advertising, channel subscription, and public funding, including license fees -- total about $400 billion, according to UK communications regulator Ofcom. Top TV markets outside the US include China, Germany, Japan, and the UK, according to Ofcom and IHS.
In the US the TV broadcast and cable network industry includes about 2,900 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $135 billion.
The industry doesn't include companies that broadcast primarily on the internet, produce and sell taped TV programs, distribute cable and other TV programs, or use TV as a retail outlet. TV program production and distribution is covered in a separate industry profile.
Business advertising, program popularity, and consumer demographics drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on advertising volume, programming mix, and efficient operations. Large companies have advantages of market dominance, often owning the only TV stations in a geographic area. Small companies can compete effectively with special programming that attracts a targeted audience. The US industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 TV broadcasting companies account for about 90% of TV broadcasting revenue; the top 50 cable and other subscription programming companies account for nearly all of cable/subscription TV revenue.
The US industry includes about 2,800 broadcast TV establishments and about 710 cable/subscription establishments. Broadcast TV accounts for about 40% of industry revenue; cable TV accounts for about 60%.
TV broadcast and cable networks compete with other media, including magazines, newspapers, radio, and internet services, for consumer attention and advertiser dollars. The industry also competes with other leisure activities, such as movie theaters and live music and sporting events.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major industry product lines are broadcasts (air time) and programming, production, and post-production services. Other sources of revenue include program
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms