Columbia Institute for Tele-InformationMeasuring Media Concentration and Its
Consequences: Is There a "Fair and Balanced" Approach?

April 2, 2004

Uris Hall, Room 332

Columbia University, 116th st and Broadway

Despite an extensive debate on the topic of media concentration at the FCC, on Capitol Hill and beyond, there remains a notable absence of any consensus not only on the appropriate policy solutions, but even on the basic facts. How concentrated is each sector of the media and what are the trends? How do deals such as the proposed Comcast bid for Disney affect the trend? How would government agencies tasked with monitoring media concentration know when and if a danger point is reached? And what alternative policy approaches may need to be considered?



During the symposium, CITI’s Director, Prof. Eli M. Noam, will present the results from his study of media concentration in 95 information sector industries. Dr. Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America will also be presenting the results of his media ownership measurement.



Other leading figures and experts from the
media and communications business, academia
and the financial community are scheduled
to participate in the symposium, including
Ben Compaine, author of “Who Owns the
Media?,” Jonathan Levy, Deputy Chief
Economist at the Federal Communications Commission
(invited), Thomas Rogers, Chairman of Trget
Media LLC and former CEO of Primedia Corp.,
Rick Blume, CEO of documentary cable network
Chronicle DTV, Dr. Thomas Hazlett of the
Manhattan Institute, Jeff Chester of the
Center for Digital Democracy, David Honig
of the Minority Media & Telecommunications
Council, and James Gattuso of the Heritage
Foundation, among others. Howard B. Homonoff,
President of Homonoff Media Group LLC and
an experienced media industry executive,
will moderate the symposium.



Additional details, including speakers and symposium location, will be posted on CITI’s website: http://www.citi.columbia.edu

Agenda

8:30 AM - Registration-  Uris Hall Lobby

9:00 AM - Welcoming Remarks: Howard B. Homonoff, Conference Director; Everett Dennis, Fordham University, Co-Sponsor

9:15 AM - 11:00 AM - Session One: Just the Facts, Ma’am – An Empirical View of the State of Media Concentration Today

Despite a lengthy,
contentious and seemingly unending
policy debate in the about the
appropriate regulatory approach
to the ownership structure in the
American media, a fundamental question
remains unanswered:

Are American media becoming more competitive
or more concentrated?

Professor Noam
is conducting a study to provide
extensive empirical data in the
midst of the widely varying policy
proposals. Using revenue and market
share data from the past 20 years,
it identifies and interprets
concentration trends and related
policy issues. This effort, along
with the new research conducted
by
Mark Cooper, will be the foundation
for this session and those that
follow.  Commentators will
examine

the validity of these findings and
the methodology, and consider the
implications of the research for
the
private and public sectors.

Session 1A: Presentations: (9:15-10AM)

Session 1B: Commentators: (10:15A-11A)

  • Professor Joel Waldfogel, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Thomas W. Hazlett, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  • Dr. Philip M. Napoli, Assistant Professor of Communications & Media Management at the Fordham Business School

11:15 AM - 12:30
PM
- Session Two:
Inside the Belly of the "Beast"

This session will examine the real-world trends in the operation of the media business.  We will examine

questions such as: What forces most effectively encourage greater concentration in the media, and how

well do they work in practice?   By comparison, what are the forces that most hurt merged companies? 

How has the structure of the media
affected the operations of individual
companies — large and small?   

What consumer benefits if any
flow from media mergers? What are
the prospects for starting a new
business venture in the media world
today, and is media concentration
a significant impediment to its
prospects for success?

Panelists:

  • Thomas S. Rogers, Chairman, Trget Media LLC
  • Hal Vogel, President Vogel Capital Management and Author, Entertainment Industry Economics
  • Rick Blume, President and CEO, Chronicle DTV

12:30-1:45 PM - Lunch - Hepbourn Lounge, 1st Floor Uris Hall

1:45 - 3:00 PM - The Policy Debate: Is there any Common Ground?

Are the historic
pillars of communications policy — localism,
diversity, and competition — still
valid? For example,
if rules to enhance localism
undermine the economic viability
of the broadcasting industry, is
the goal itself no longer as significant?  If
we do want to pursue the same policy
objectives, should we be considering
approaches

outside of the structural rules
that have dominated the debate
on media concentration? Should
the focus shift to alternative
approaches such as minority tax
credits, a revitalized leased access
system, or a rethinking of
public television?  Finally, will
the upcoming presidential election
significantly impact the direction
of this debate?

Panelists:

  • Ellen Agress, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, News Corp.
  • David Honig, Executive Director, Minority Telecommunications Council
  • Danny Schecter, Executive Editor, MediaChannel
  • James Gattuso, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Heritage Foundation

3:15 PM - Concluding Remarks: Eli Noam, Howard Homonoff

3:30 PM - Reception

Registration is required.

Please register at http://www.ersvp.com/reply/event11064 at $75 per person. CITI affiliates, non-profits, students and academics should contact Ben Bloom at bb2125@columbia.edu or at 212-854-4222 to determine eligibility for discounted registration fees.