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Media Ownership Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

Desmond ParrisResearch Paper #2COM101-002Professor: Tamara Hillabush WalkerNovember 18, 2013Media Conglomerate Ownership in the U.S.The United States is being greatly affected by conglomerate ownership of media properties in today's industry. A conglomerate is formed when a large company merges with separate and diverse small firms. By definition a media conglomerate is a large company or corporation that has merged with a number of different media outlets such as TV, radio, newspapers and Internet. Big companies have the tendency to expand by diversifying their holdings among different media products, never fully dominating a particular media industry.A decreasing number of organizations gaining control over an increasing amount of mass media, which defines media consolidation, leads to an oligopoly in the marketplace. Large companies create an oligopoly when only a handful of them dominate the industry and face little economic competition from small independent firms.In 1983, a total of fifty corporations dominated most of the media industry. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, that number shrunk to twenty-nine by 1987. Twenty-three companies had control of the industry by 1990 and in 1997 that number was ten. Presently, media ownership has been concentrated in the hands of only six extremely powerful media conglomerates. The six corporations that control media collectively in the United States today are Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom and News Corporation.These corporate media giants control most of what people read, watch and listen to on a daily basis. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, record labels and a plethora of highly visited websites. Media ownership may have negative effects on the public, as mass media play a powerful role in defining common sense, through the messages they convey in their products.The structure of this model impacts diversity of viewpoints coming from a variety of sources, known as message pluralism. This allows society's least powerful members to be persuaded into accepting the values defined by its most powerful members, setting up a hegemony. The beliefs, perceptions and morals of the ruling class becoming the dominant ideology is detrimental to a culturally diverse society.Most corporate operations are geared towards earning revenue, in turn profit becomes the bottom line for these companies. As corporations strive to earn revenue from their sponsors and advertisers, it becomes questionable as to who's interest is being fulfilled, corporate or public. This affects how and what information gets released to which audience, thus creating gatekeepers. A media outlet's best interest doesn't involve reporting stories that may negatively affect their parent company or jeopardize advertising revenue in any way.There is evidence of this behavior between ABC News and its parent company Walt Disney. In...

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