NBC Universal

As one example, NBC Universal—part of Comcast—owns the NBC network, Olympics coverage, NBC Sports Network, A&E, Bravo, SCI Fi, Syfy, Chiller, Sleuth, Focus Features, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, the Weather Channel, USA network, Sprout, Hulu, Esquire ‘Network, Universal Media Studios, Universal Studios theme park (United States and Japan), Carnival Film and Television, and Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, and Legendary Entertainment.

Internet Delivery As the Internet gained bandwidth capacity to carry video, television production entities have shifted to expand their audiences online. Over-air networks offer programs on-demand on their own sites, as well as sites that specialize in snippets and segments from programs. The popular site, YouTube, also provides access to a variety of content genres.

Program Generators Besides local news, terrestrial television stations produce hardly any programming. Cable systems produce even less.

Networks Networks provide several hours of programming a day to affiliates.

For over-air stations that have an affiliation with a network—ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC —national newscasts and prime-time and other programming are available. These networks themselves own a few stations, all in major markets. These owned-and- operated stations, known as o-and-o’s, generally carry everything the network offers. Most stations with a network identity, however, are neither network owned nor controlled. They are called affiliates.

All over-air stations are answerable to the FCC, created in 1934, for all that they air— whatever the source. The FCC does not control the networks, which don’t use the public airwaves, but the FCC wields major influence on programming standards through affiliates and o-and-o’s, which are licensed. A network risks losing affiliates if it puts their FCC licenses in jeopardy.

Cable networks, like HBO, do not use public airwaves to reach an audience. Nor do local cable systems that carry network programs. The same applies to satellite services that send programming directly to subscribers.

Independent Producers The major source of U.S. television programming is independent production companies. Belisarius Productions, headed by producer Donald Bellisario, has created numerous series that generally are associated with CBS, including NCIS, NCIS L.A., NCIS New Orleans, and Magnum, P.I. Mark Burnett’s independent productions include Survivor, Apprentice, Martha Stewart, Shark Tank, and Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Merv Griffin Productions created a bevy of long-running shows, including Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

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