Distribution of Media and Information
The chapter covers distribution networks, the major trends in electronic distribution, and their economic characteristics and implications. It identifies the various “architectures” of distribution networks and reviews the analytic tools for distribution management created by different disciplines, from sociology to regional planning, electrical engineering, statistics, and operations research. This leads to tools of network management, supply chain logistics, and inventory control. The chapter reviews wholesale distribution and its trends in a number of major media industries, such as film, books, and consumer electronics. A similar review of retail distribution follows and the business models for online media retail are discussed. A final issue concerns the impact of distribution on content. The case discussion centers on the role of distribution in the future of the major German media company, Bertelsmann.