Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Son, there used to be these things called antitrust laws

From a fascinating set of graphics from the good people at Gawker Media.

These last two connect to one of our long-running threads. One of the reasons I push the terrestrial superstation story so hard is because of the way it both contradicts and supports the message of these two graphics. We are talking about a highly profitable and rapidly growing industry segment that was virtually invented by the small and nimble Weigel Broadcasting. Not only did it take majors like NBC, Fox and CBS years to catch up, but the latter two actually made a deal with Weigel to essentially run their superstations (Movies! and Decades) for them.

So it is possible for a small but smart and aggressive media company to disrupt and dominate the industry, but the obstacles are daunting. Most journalists are completely oblivious to little companies without massive PR budgets. Despite being one of the most interesting business stories of the past decade (at least of those involving well-run businesses), Weigel is almost unheard of outside of Chicago. Worse yet, the entire terrestrial superstation industry under the potential death threat of lobbyists trying to sell off that chunk of spectrum.

The little guy who has the better idea and the faster reflexes can sometimes still beat the big players, but only by overcoming a system stacked against him.

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