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The Sociology of Mass Media
Ownership and Control
Media Forms: defining “media”
TP p.779
- Print media: newspapers, books, comics, some advertising
- Audio-visual media: TV, cinema, radio, various music formats
- Huge changes over last 25 years;
- Pre-1990: all analogue TV, with only 5 channels (max.);
- These channels free to those paying the “TV license fee”;
- Today: all TV is digitalized (same tech as K-Plus in
Vietnam), and 12 million homes subscribe to premium
packages inc. movies and sports;
.
• - “New” media: internet-based, interactive etc.
- new delivery technologies: e.g. internet
(76% of UK adults had access in 2011), laptops, hand-
held devices like 3G/4G cell phones, iPads, Kindles
- convergence of media delivery technologies:
cell phones, PCs, laptops, hand-helds etc all deliver
numerous services to users
- cross-media convergence: companies (e.g. electronics
or telecoms/internet service providers) now work in
many fields, and often converge with other media
companies e.g. Comcast and Verizon (USA)
- interpersonal and interactive: more choice in ways to
project opinions/identity, communicate, gain/share
information etc. e.g. social networking, blogs. OFCOM: 50%
UK adults used SN in 2012
Trends in the Ownership and Control
of the Media
• Crucial information if we value diversity in media output and the avoidance of
abuses of power (Doyle, 2002)
• Owners/controllers of media organizations have more power than those of other
sectors due to power to influence popular opinion ; and this can undermine the
democratic process (Doyle, 2002)
Concentration of Ownership
- CR %= Concentration ratio %; total revenue going to the top media companies
- CR4 to top 4 companies, CR8 top 8… if CR4 is above 75%, or if CR8 is above 75%, the ind. Is seen
as “highly concentrated”.
- Bagdikian (2004) : in “The New Media Monopoly”, states that both CRs have been growing in
recent decades
.Ownership of mass media in the USA
- Bagdikian (2004): 1983- 50 corporations controlled 90%; in 1992- just 22
- 2013: ownership concentrated in just 7 companies e.g. News Corp,
Time Warner, Disney, Sony
- New media e.g. SN: traditional media companies e.g. News Corp
compete with cyber-media organizations to control social
networking (very lucrative advertising). Microsoft owns a $1.36
billion stake in Facebook, for example
British print media
- 7 individuals dominate ownership and content of most British
newspapers:
- E.g. News Corp (Rupert Murdoch and family) who own major publications e.g. the
Sun, the Times
.
• Some newspapers e.g. the Mirror group are owned by companies, not individuals
• And the Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/the-scott-trust/ , a Trust
founded in 1936 dedicated to preserving the journalistic freedom and liberal values of this very fine
newspaper
• Unlike newspapers, magazines are a big growth area of the 21st century; and the magazine market is
dominated by just two companies
• The Bauer group and IPC each publish around 80 titles
Broadcasting media in the UK
- The BBC is publicly owned and committed to a “centre (wing)” stance
- Other than BBC, Murdoch’s News Corp and Virgin Media dominate the market
- The music industry seems to be bucking the trend of centralized ownership; in 2011 six companies
dominated, but last year EMI split up into four
.
.
.
Strategies of media corporations
Horizontal integration
- Corporations own a diverse range of media. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp
owns newspapers in UK, USA and Australia, HarperCollins books, Fox TV,
20th Century Fox movies, NBC news channel
- It also has a controlling stake over UK satellite TV giant Sky, and Asian
channels Star Sports, Star world and Star Movies
.Vertical integration
- Corporations are increasingly trying to control all aspects of a particular
industry sector e.g. Time Warner makes its own films and shows them in
its own cinemas
- News Corp owns not only TV channels but also TV and film studios that
makes the products
-  “Vertical integration gives media
companies greater
economic control over
their operating environment”. TP p781
.
Convergence
- Growing range of technologies e.g. powerful laptops, 3G/4G phones, large
HD TVs, games consoles
- These allow fast, download/streaming of information, almost anywhere,
very cheaply…as well as purchasing of consumer goods using credit cards
- Also allow access to social networking e.g. FB, Twitter…as well as YouTube
and shopping sites…all found using search engines like Google
.
• Unsurprisingly these companies are
converging; they were previously very
separate entities
• the smartphone (and laptop) create a media
world where internet providers (e.g. Vodafone
or Viettel) work closely with TV, music,
shopping and photography companies to
maximize overall media consumption
.
Global conglomeration
- Globalization lessens the importance of national boundaries that surrounded media
markets
- This opens up new international markets and encourages competition between media
companies
- As a result, most of the big media companies are transnational; present in many
countries with no specific ties to any (names of these companies rarely show national
allegiance e.g. News Corp, Virgin, Sky, Canal Plus)
Branding
- Like all transnational corporations, companies use brand imagery to become
recognizable, and to create and utilize particular impressions in consumers’
minds e.g. Disney
Summary
• 13 companies dominate the UK media industry
• 10 of these owned by wealthy, powerful and influential
individuals, not shareholders of trusts
• The concentration of ownership is increasing
• Vertical/horizontal integration, convergence, global
conglomeration, and branding are key strategies used by
media giants

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Mediaformsownershipandcontrol 140107030013-phpapp02

  • 1. The Sociology of Mass Media Ownership and Control
  • 2. Media Forms: defining “media” TP p.779 - Print media: newspapers, books, comics, some advertising - Audio-visual media: TV, cinema, radio, various music formats - Huge changes over last 25 years; - Pre-1990: all analogue TV, with only 5 channels (max.); - These channels free to those paying the “TV license fee”; - Today: all TV is digitalized (same tech as K-Plus in Vietnam), and 12 million homes subscribe to premium packages inc. movies and sports;
  • 3. . • - “New” media: internet-based, interactive etc. - new delivery technologies: e.g. internet (76% of UK adults had access in 2011), laptops, hand- held devices like 3G/4G cell phones, iPads, Kindles - convergence of media delivery technologies: cell phones, PCs, laptops, hand-helds etc all deliver numerous services to users - cross-media convergence: companies (e.g. electronics or telecoms/internet service providers) now work in many fields, and often converge with other media companies e.g. Comcast and Verizon (USA) - interpersonal and interactive: more choice in ways to project opinions/identity, communicate, gain/share information etc. e.g. social networking, blogs. OFCOM: 50% UK adults used SN in 2012
  • 4. Trends in the Ownership and Control of the Media • Crucial information if we value diversity in media output and the avoidance of abuses of power (Doyle, 2002) • Owners/controllers of media organizations have more power than those of other sectors due to power to influence popular opinion ; and this can undermine the democratic process (Doyle, 2002) Concentration of Ownership - CR %= Concentration ratio %; total revenue going to the top media companies - CR4 to top 4 companies, CR8 top 8… if CR4 is above 75%, or if CR8 is above 75%, the ind. Is seen as “highly concentrated”. - Bagdikian (2004) : in “The New Media Monopoly”, states that both CRs have been growing in recent decades
  • 5. .Ownership of mass media in the USA - Bagdikian (2004): 1983- 50 corporations controlled 90%; in 1992- just 22 - 2013: ownership concentrated in just 7 companies e.g. News Corp, Time Warner, Disney, Sony - New media e.g. SN: traditional media companies e.g. News Corp compete with cyber-media organizations to control social networking (very lucrative advertising). Microsoft owns a $1.36 billion stake in Facebook, for example British print media - 7 individuals dominate ownership and content of most British newspapers: - E.g. News Corp (Rupert Murdoch and family) who own major publications e.g. the Sun, the Times
  • 6. . • Some newspapers e.g. the Mirror group are owned by companies, not individuals • And the Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/the-scott-trust/ , a Trust founded in 1936 dedicated to preserving the journalistic freedom and liberal values of this very fine newspaper • Unlike newspapers, magazines are a big growth area of the 21st century; and the magazine market is dominated by just two companies • The Bauer group and IPC each publish around 80 titles Broadcasting media in the UK - The BBC is publicly owned and committed to a “centre (wing)” stance - Other than BBC, Murdoch’s News Corp and Virgin Media dominate the market - The music industry seems to be bucking the trend of centralized ownership; in 2011 six companies dominated, but last year EMI split up into four
  • 7. .
  • 8. .
  • 9. .
  • 10. Strategies of media corporations Horizontal integration - Corporations own a diverse range of media. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns newspapers in UK, USA and Australia, HarperCollins books, Fox TV, 20th Century Fox movies, NBC news channel - It also has a controlling stake over UK satellite TV giant Sky, and Asian channels Star Sports, Star world and Star Movies
  • 11. .Vertical integration - Corporations are increasingly trying to control all aspects of a particular industry sector e.g. Time Warner makes its own films and shows them in its own cinemas - News Corp owns not only TV channels but also TV and film studios that makes the products -  “Vertical integration gives media companies greater economic control over their operating environment”. TP p781
  • 12. . Convergence - Growing range of technologies e.g. powerful laptops, 3G/4G phones, large HD TVs, games consoles - These allow fast, download/streaming of information, almost anywhere, very cheaply…as well as purchasing of consumer goods using credit cards - Also allow access to social networking e.g. FB, Twitter…as well as YouTube and shopping sites…all found using search engines like Google
  • 13. . • Unsurprisingly these companies are converging; they were previously very separate entities • the smartphone (and laptop) create a media world where internet providers (e.g. Vodafone or Viettel) work closely with TV, music, shopping and photography companies to maximize overall media consumption
  • 14. . Global conglomeration - Globalization lessens the importance of national boundaries that surrounded media markets - This opens up new international markets and encourages competition between media companies - As a result, most of the big media companies are transnational; present in many countries with no specific ties to any (names of these companies rarely show national allegiance e.g. News Corp, Virgin, Sky, Canal Plus) Branding - Like all transnational corporations, companies use brand imagery to become recognizable, and to create and utilize particular impressions in consumers’ minds e.g. Disney
  • 15. Summary • 13 companies dominate the UK media industry • 10 of these owned by wealthy, powerful and influential individuals, not shareholders of trusts • The concentration of ownership is increasing • Vertical/horizontal integration, convergence, global conglomeration, and branding are key strategies used by media giants