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Reply #49: using distorted and misleading data to make the point about concentration doesnt' help [View All]

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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-18-08 03:05 PM
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49. using distorted and misleading data to make the point about concentration doesnt' help
Media concentration is a real issue that needs to be addressed. But much of the information in the OP (and in the source cited by the OP, I presume) is misleading and distorted. I've pointed out some of these distortions in an earlier post (#8), particularly as they relate to newspaper and magazines.

I'd also point out that the claim that one in four Internet users "now log on with AOL Time Warner" also doesn't bear up to close scrutiny and/or is misleading. First, without bothering to look it up, I'd bet that the percentage of internet users getting service through AOL or Road Runner is less as a percentage of the total Internet universe than it was several years ago. The growth of DSL generally, and Verizon's FIOS and ATT's U-verse services, together with preciptious subscriber losses by AOL, make me fairly confident of this fact.

It is true that when you combine AOL's numbers with Road Runner's, you get the largest ISP: according to third quarter 2007 data, the two services combined for 18.6 percent of the market (18.4 million subs). That's a sizable number, but its not one in four. And its closely followed by, and being challenged by, ATT, which has 17.5% of the market all by itself (17.4 million subs). And while Road Runner is growing somewhat faster than ATT, this growth advantage is more than offset by AOL's continuing steep losses in subscribership. A couple of charts illustrate the above:

Again, I'm not downplaying the fact that there are real issues with respect to media consolidation, particularly with regard to radio and also with respect to the growing dominance of the broadcast television networks in the field of cable programming, which crowds out the opportunities for independent voices. But its important to have a solid case based on accurate facts if we are to have any hope of actually getting reform measures considered.
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