Write a 3 pages paper on the concentration of ownership in today’s mass media business. The media . – print, broadcast and the more recent Internet publishing – is an important sector of society. It is or its various platforms – are considered as public spaces, that is why governments, even in democratic societies, often regulate it. With the advent of globalization, the seemingly uncontrollable force of capitalism, and the rapid development in technology, the media has become a commodity that can be sold and acquired like any goods or services in the market. By the 1980s, the United States gradually deregulated the American media industries, paving the way for the open trading of media ownership. As a result, media ownership becomes increasingly concentrated as many companies and individuals see the benefits and power that come with controlling an effective tool in shaping public opinion and influencing all policy networks. Currently, six media conglomerates operate the majority of mass media platforms not just in the US but worldwide – News Corporation, Bertelsmann, Vivendi, AOL-Time Warner, Disney, and Viacom. while only three news agencies lord over the reportage and syndication of news and journalistic materials. This paper will summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the concentration of mass media ownership.
The main advantage of allowing media consolidation is primarily in the economic front. Concentrating several smaller or individual outfits under one owner means better management, better access to funding and other resources. Biagi (2006) underscored that a large company can afford to train employees better, pay them higher wages and provide for better working conditions (14). In addition to this, large companies who gobble up smaller media outfits are in a better position to manage the organization effectively. According to Wilkins and Christian (2008), the consolidation of ownership allows media practitioners to benefit from standardization and centralization of production (333). All in all, the benefits-arguments boil down to economic efficiencies. This fact is supposedly important in order for media outfits to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Critics argue that the concentration of media ownership hurts the public interest most. The main position is that because large media owners want maximum financial returns and always susceptible to increased commercial pressures, it would go at great lengths in producing contents that would deliver the most profit, and in the process increase advertiser and sponsor influence, compromising the integrity of the news, often becoming unethical, and so forth. The consolidation works roughly the same as the monopoly wherein the owner exercise a higher degree of control and power not just over a media organization but, more importantly, to the content that the organization produces. The disadvantage is greatly felt in an environment wherein the mass media finally evolved into a humungous organization wielding enormous political power.
According to the research findings, it can, therefore, be said that today, the largest media conglomerates were responsible for a large number of media statutes and regulations that are biassed towards the interest of their corporations instead of the interest and welfare of the general public. According to Gupta (2006), for instance, there is now “little substantive coverage of the spectacular media deals in terms of the perceived effects of these deals,” and that “in most cases, journalists are directly affected but they do not report their own concerns” because of internal pressure (289).