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Concentrated Media Ownership

414 words 2 page(s)

The concentration of media ownership refers to the process by which fewer and fewer individuals, businesses or conglomerates control shares of the mass media. The state of the media industry, especially within the United States, is one that is embroiled in conflict and conflicting views, as well as news and television programming that is being condemned by several sides of the political sphere. The concentration of media ownership within the United States lies within the Big Five: Comcast, the Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and CBS/Viacom (Lutz, 2012). As of 2011, 90 percent of the United States media was controlled by six companies; today, it is only these five, as the last of which are tied in terms of assets and holdings owned.

There are significant pros and cons of concentrated media ownership and consolidation, with many arguing that the objective of mass media is to get as large of an audience as possible, and that consumers essentially control what is on television. The diversification of these sources is also a positive from a business perspective, as expansions in programming and other ventures like sports and music means that if certain parts of a company begin to struggle, the entire organization does not tank. For example, General Electric has remained in one of the highest spots in terms of media programming because of its diversified portfolio that includes media such as NBC and RCA, in addition to what it is generally known for, like energy and appliances.

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For those against the concentration of media ownership, it is argued that the planet’s billions of people get their news from only a few mega-media companies, disallowing for competition and possibly a lack of diversity in media (Hoynes, 2002). When few firms create a monopoly in the market, the concept of serving the public interest may be lost and they exert control by charging a consumer higher prices for their service since there are so few alternatives. One of the primary arguments is that there is too much power held by these media companies, who can influence the shape and growth of the public’s opinions. It is frightening to think about that corporate power in the media and how powerful of an establishment it is.

    References
  • Hoynes, W. (2002, January 16). Why media mergers matter. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.opendemocracy.net/media-globalmediaownership/article_47.jsp
  • Lutz, A. (2012, June 14). These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6