The Cable and Satellite Television Industries

Article excerpt

Parsons, Patrick and Robert Frieden, (1998). The Cable and Satellite Television Industries. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 371 pp. Paperback, $24.

Any author writing a book about telecommunications today is taking a risk. Because of technological developments and innovation, mergers and acquisitions, laws and lawsuits, what is today may certainly not be tomorrow. Such is the mercurial environment that greets Patrick Parsons and Robert Freiden's book, and the authors acknowledge that both industries exist "in interesting times." Although the environment is dynamic, the two Pennsylvania State University faculty members have succeeded admirably in writing a book that comprehensively covers the subject matter of the title industries and the overlap of both with the broadcast, computer and telephone industries.

The realities of convergence are evident throughout the book as Parsons and Frieden provide an explanation of how the cable and satellite industries developed and document how both are handling securing and expanding their niche. After an overview, Parsons and Frieden provide a concise history of the cable and satellite television industries followed by a chapter on the technology. The remainder of the book covers distribution, programming, business operations, law and regulation, a global perspective and some observations on social issues, i.e., the impact of these still separately identifiable industries on society, the move toward pay-per-view, privacy and politics. The chapter on law and regulation does a good job in identifying the legal issues unresolved or raised by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. …

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