An Hourglass Market Structure
An Hourglass Market Structure

At the demand level, the media industry is experiencing fragmentation in that consumers want more individualized content.  For example, cable and satellite companies offer general channel “packages,” as well as specific channel packages—like ones completely devoted to movies or a specific sport—allowing consumers more choice in channel selection.  Also, mobile phone services offer “a-la-carte” plans for calling, texting and data, giving consumers the ability to select plans that are right for them.  (For example, a consumer might opt for an unlimited calling plan with 200 texts-per-month.)

As such, established companies both acquire similar assets—in order to preempt threats to their business models—and forge new partnerships—in order to cater to as many consumers as possible by establishing conglomerates.  For example, Microsoft bought Hotmail in order to expand into a burgeoning e-mail market.

This all results in an “hourglass-shaped” media producer sector: “with a small number of large often global and conglomerate enterprises at one end and a very large number of local micro or small enterprises at the other with a very thin middle” (Locksley, 2009).

52 Locksley, Gareth. The Media and Development: What’s the Story?. p. 21


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