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Television Networks

James R. Compton

Subject Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Media System » Media History

Key-Topics networks

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Television networks are organizations that produce or acquire the rights to TV programs, which are centrally distributed to affiliated stations where they are scheduled at uniform time slots. The distribution of content to geographically dispersed stations can occur using a variety of technical systems, involving traditional over-the-air electromagnetic broadcasting, cable, satellite, and now digital transmission. The history of television networks has been influenced by two principal broadcast network models: the public service broadcasting (PSB) model (→  Public Broadcasting Systems ; Public Broadcasting, History of ), epitomized in the English speaking world by the British Broadcasting Corporation (→  BBC ), and by the for-profit commercial model, associated with television networks in the United States. In the case of the BBC, and many other public service broadcasters, identical programming is simultaneously distributed to repeater stations, with some regional variation. In the case of for-profit networks in the United States, regional affiliate stations produce local content (e.g., →  newscasts ) while accepting a portion of their programming via the central distribution of their parent network. In vernacular language the terms television network , television channel , and television station are often interchanged; however, the terms are distinct: a channel is a band ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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