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The advantages and disadvantages of the concentration of ownership - Essay Example

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This paper aims to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the concentration of ownership in today’s mass media business. It will discuss whether the concentration of media ownership is really economically effective and if it hurts the public interest by reducing the choice…
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The advantages and disadvantages of the concentration of ownership
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With the advent of globalization, the seemingly uncontrollable force of capitalism, and the rapid development in technology, the media has become a commodity that can be sold and acquired like any goods or services in the market. By 1980s, the United States gradually deregulated the American media industries, paving the way for the open trading of media ownership. As a result, media ownership becomes increasingly concentrated as many companies and individuals see the benefits and power that come with controlling an effective tool in shaping public opinion and influencing all policy networks. Currently, six media conglomerates operate the majority of mass media platforms not just in the US but worldwide – News Corporation, Bertelsmann, Vivendi, AOL-Time Warner, Disney and Viacom; while only three news agencies lord over the reportage and syndication of news and journalistic materials. This paper will summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the concentration of mass media ownership.

Advantages
The main advantage allowing media consolidation is primarily in the economic front. Concentrating several smaller or individual outfits under one owner means better management, better access to funding and other resources. Biagi (2006) underscored that a large company can afford to train employees better, pay them higher wages and provide for better working conditions. (14). In addition to this, large companies who gobble up smaller media outfits are in a better position to manage the organization effectively. According to Wilkins and Christian (2008), the consolidation of ownership allows media practitioners to benefit from standardization and centralization of production (333). All in all, the benefits-arguments boil down to economic efficiencies. This fact is supposedly important in order for media outfits to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. Disadvantages Critics argue that the concentration of media ownership hurts the public interest most. The main position is that because large media owners want maximum financial returns and always susceptible to increased commercial pressures, it would go at great lengths in producing contents that would deliver the most profit, and in the process increase advertiser and sponsor influence, compromising the integrity of the news, often becoming unethical, and so forth. The consolidation works roughly the same the monopoly wherein the owner exercise a higher degree of control and power not just over a media organization but, more importantly, to the content that the organization produces. The disadvantage is greatly felt in an environment wherein the mass media finally evolved into humungous organization wielding enormous political power. Today, the largest media conglomerates were responsible for a large number of media statutes and regulations that are biased towards the interest of their corporations instead of the interest and welfare of the general public. According to Gupta (2006), for instance, there is now “little substantive coverage of the spectacular media deals in terms of the perceived effects of these deals,” and that “in most cases, journalists are directly affected but they do not report their own concerns” because of internal pressure (289). Finally, the concentration of power that results as a consequence of the consolidation of media outfits supposedly limits the diversity of opinion and the quality of ideas available to the public and greatly diminishes the so-called message pluralism (Biagi 14). Diversity and message pluralism is important because they reinforce the concepts of individualism and freedom. According to Perreira (2007), this is done by ensuring balanced ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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