Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your chosen media area
Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in theproduction and exchange of media texts in your chosenmedia area.Planning Analysis ExampleIntro Newspapers Define media ownership NI Production & ExchangeDiscussion Falling sales – need to review model Importance of advertising Convergence Sun/Sky Express/Ch5 Exchange on line Websites Downloadables Connectivity Digital citizens Levenson and media powerConclusion Danger but who has the power?I propose to respond to this question with reference to the newspaperindustry, but will make reference to other media as increasingly today we livein a multi-media world. Issues surrounding press(media) ownership havebeen a concern for many years from the days of Lord Beaverbook and LordNorthcliffe in the first part of the last century to todays discussions on thepower and influence of global multi media conglomerates such as NewsInternational and Time/Warner. Equally, as technology advances, audiencesare finding new ways to consume media texts such as newspapers, and thisis forcing the media companies to revue their business models on how theyproduce and exchange their offerings with their customers.The fundamental background to the media industry is that it is in thecommunication business, whether it is communicating information as in thecase of news or advertising, emotions as in the case of films and music etc.Originally, newspapers function was to provide information of the day to amass audience, and until relatively recently this remained their prime function,and whoever controlled the content of the newspapers determined what newsof the day was allowed to be published and what, if any “spin” was placed onthe news. This gave the proprietors of newspapers huge power in politicsand, for example the reporting of royalty, and historically, they have influencedpolitics to a large degree. The arrival of broadcast news, especially with theBBC’s requirement to reporting free from bias or influence, has introducednew challenges to the news industry.As audiences have become more and more used to accessing news andinformation in real time and at their convenience, the traditional newspaperhas had to react to this challenge, to the point that todays newspapers contain
around equal proportions of news, advertising and Non-News Content (NNC),which is often magazine and celebrity news which goes out of date muchmore slowly. Despite this reaction to new news channels, newspaper salescontinue to slide in the UK as the audiences find their news in ways moreappropriate to their needs. The Sun, for example is the best sellingnewspaper in the UK today, with sales of around 2.6 million copies per day,but which shows a 7% decline in the last 12 months and a fall from 3.3 millioncopies daily 10 years ago. Compound this with a much greater fall inadvertising revenue, as advertisers spend their budgets on more targetedadvertising, it is clear that the traditional newspaper media is fighting tosurvive. We have seen national newspapers sold for nominal sums -AlexanderLebedev bought the Independent for £1 in 2010, reflecting the debtsin this business.In order to survive, many newspapers are part of much larger mediaconglomerates with interests in a range of media. News International,controlled by the Murdoch family, owns The Times and The Sun in the UK aswell as the Sky broadcasting platforms and stations, and is a primeshareholder in BskyB, as well as holding a significant holding of ITV shares.This reflects the need for synergy across platforms and the significance ofconvergence, as modern media businesses become more and more similar.However, as such businesses become so large, and especially where thebusiness is run autocratically, as in the case of News International, the powerof the business to influence public opinion, and their ability to reflect their owninterests in their communications, gives them power which they are in aposition to abuse. Politicians try to gain favour to be portrayed favourably,and the media company can access corridors of power unavailable to thepublic or other smaller media companies. The Leveson enquiry is examiningthis very subject at present but it is difficult to see how it can be possible tocontrol a multinational the size of News International when it exists in so manymedia.The classic newspaper model of a consumer purchasing a paper copy,printed 12 hours or so earlier, and the financial return being passed backalong the supply chain is clearly flawed, and the sustained decline in salesism clear evidence of this. Today’s audiences want the news to be instantand up-to-minute rather than up-to-date. Increasingly, we live our lives online, and in an interactive web 2.0 manner. Indeed, we are now beginning toexpect the customised web, so called web 3.0, and the traditional newspaperdoes not supply these needs.Web-based newspapers have existed for year, and initially were seen asadditions to the classic paper version. Increasingly today, the web versionsprovide an up to the minute interactive news source more suited to todaysaudiences. Some, such as The Sun website closely resemble the printedversion, but accessed easily with indexes allowing “2-clicks to anywhere” tospeed finding your preferred article. Some such as The Telegraph offeremails twice per day with links to their website, and you are able to pre-determine the broad subjects you want to hear about. This model has 2 majorproblems. Firstly, to access the information, you need to be connected, and of
course increasingly we are “digital citizens”, as Bill Thompson calls us, andthrough our smartphones, and wifi are living our lives connected. Secondly,the newspapers are struggling to define a model whereby they can generaterevenue for this model other than charging for advertising space. This isespecially difficult when you compare the BBC News website, which is free,unbiased and free of advertising.Downloadable versions of the paper copy, often with additional features havethe advantage of being updated to the moment of download, can containadditional features, like embedded videos, and can be made available bysubscription. This is the model being followed by The Times who offer thisservice at a significant discount to the paper version. This model has beenenabled by the widespread use of tablets such as theiPad to read content offline.In conclusion, it is clear that there will always be someone who owns andtherefore influences the messages and content of their communications, andwith this power comes great responsibility. In the newspaper industry, thetraditional paper copy version is threatened by newer web based news media,and the companies which will succeed are those prepared to work with thenew media and supply what the audiences now want at a price they areprepared to pay. Unless they do so, some newspaper businesses will notsurvive in the longer term.1080 wordsKLD5 May 2012Student activity Highlight o technical terms o examples Criticise o Content o Examples o Narrative content – does it answer the question?