Who Owns This Place? Who Owns the News?

By Angelica Clayton

Many of the major media outlets that we know today are typically owned by bigger, billion-dollar U.S. media conglomerates. I want to talk about the top four companies with media ties, which bring in the most revenue:

Comcast/NBC-Universal are number one with holdings in NBC, cable TV, and film. ($38.1)

Time Warner is number two with holdings in magazines, cable TV, film, HBO, video games, and DC Comics. ($33.2)

National Amusements is number three with holdings in CBS, film, and video gaming. ($30.7)

Walt Disney Company is number four with holdings in ABC, film, and entertainment properties. ($18.2)

This information was found according to the Pew Research Center and it impacts us as consumers of media for many different reasons. The main reason being that, these companies impact our lives with thousands of advertisements per day. Video games, movies, television and even print media is being controlled by bigger companies which ultimately get a say in what is published and what is not, because they have the money and power to do so. Perhaps surprisingly, major media news outlets can even be owned by religious powerhouses, (Deseret News, the Mormon Church) and cultural entities (KTNN-AM Radio, Navajo Nation). According to Herrick, media companies make up an industry with three markets: newsroom staffers believe the customers are the reading and viewing public. Managers think that the customers are the advertisers, and executives of publicly traded conglomerates and of private investment firms believe the main customers are stockholders or private investors (18).

All three of these markets have one common goal and that is to make the most money. If companies are traded, merged, go bankrupt etc.  this can affect the type of journalism that is put out by this company. I will be talking from a news conglomerate owners view. Many companies have been forced into bankruptcy for strategy in making more money and combining companies- specifically the strongest ones together. Conglomerates are not all bad however, and there is a push by journalists’ to recognize the fact that they might be needed to secure funding. Media analysist John Morton said “cutting newsroom rosters and news coverage seems like a clear path to eventual doom, especially in an era in which the Internet is increasingly capturing eyeballs and advertising once securely held by newspapers”. With the use of conglomerates, there is more opportunity to reach a bigger audience. The tricky part is holding so many people responsible and maintaining integrity.

It is fascinating to think that only four companies can control so much of what we see, read, hear, and consume daily. Newspapers are becoming obsolete especially to the younger generations. The power of the Press really does lie in coverage and audience intake. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Walt Disney Company is considering buying Twitter. This is perhaps because of Twitters large amount of consumers in news and entertainment. All of the companies mentioned have bought shares that have to do with social media and the Internet because that is the direction that the news is headed in these days.

For Further Reading:

http://www.globalissues.org/article/159/media-conglomerates-mergers-concentration-of-ownership

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