Show Business: $2 Billion a Year

For the first time, TV broadcasting last year became a $2 billion business.

According to a new Federal Communications report, industry revenues (largely sponsors' fees) rose by 12% to a record $2.2 billion; pretax profits increased by 10% to $492 million.

Oddly enough, the three networks did relatively poorly: while grossing $904 million from time and program sales, they netted only $79 million before taxes, a mere 8.7% of the gross—compared with such corporations as Amerada Petroleum (49%). One reason is the high cost of filming documentaries and maintaining big news-gathering organizations. Another is the higher cost of developing new entertainment programs;...

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