Ownership – Media

Lesson objectiveTo explore how the media is controlled
Lesson outcomes• Assess global and national trends
• Evaluate the impact
• Explain how the media is owned

Most textbooks sadly offers out of date information now regarding ownership of the media. The Media Reform Coalition offers the most up to date information regarding how the media in the UK is currently owned.

The full report offers in-depth statistics regarding how the media is owned (click here). I suggest looking at this since it breaks down new media and traditional media.

The summary report offers some, but not all of the key facts (click here).

Globally (yes, you have to know this so you can link it to globalisation), see here for update to date data.

When looking at this topic, it is important to be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Are the media simply spreading a limited number of higher class cultural ideas? E.G. dominant ideology.
  2. To what extent do the owners of the media control the content?
  3. What effects do the media have on the audiences they target?

​The ownership of the media has narrowed considerably over the past few years.

In 2004 Bagdikian pointed out the following trend towards increasing ownership of the media:

  • In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the majority of news media in the USA
  • By 1992, 22 companies owned and operated 90% of the mass media

In the United Kingdom in 2017, 10 companies received 70% of the revenue generated by all media companies, and 40 companies received 92% of all of the revenue (source: Deloitte media metrics, 2017).

How does control exist?

Vertical Integration – Where one company attempts to own all other competition within the same market e.g. tv.

Horizontal integration – Where one company diversifies and attempts to own a range of platforms e.g. movies and radio.

Lateral expansion or diversification. An excellent version of this is the company Virgin where it has attempted to expand into completely different market areas. E.g. trains and broadband.

Global Conglomeration – Where companies in one country buy up companies in other countries. News Corp, for example, owns media outlets in several different countries.

Synergy – This is where a company attempts to sell a product in different forms e.g. a Disney film is advertised through films, toys, etc.

Technological convergence. Where traditional media companies link with IT companies to make sure their media products are available across several different devices.

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