Term Paper: Media Conglomeration

Pages: 4 (1115 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication - Journalism  ·  Buy This Paper

Media Conglomeration: A Monopoly

While it may seem that continuous government deregulation of the telecommunications industry would result in increased competition, the opposite is actually true. The telecommunications industry has instead seen an accelerating wave of corporate mergers and acquisitions that have created a small number of multi-billion-dollar media conglomerates (National Vanguard Books, 2004). The biggest media conglomerates are rapidly growing by consuming their competition, almost tripling in size during the 1990s. As a result, it is likely that one of these megamedia companies produces or distributes the majority of television shows, radio programs, movies and print publications.

The largest media conglomerate is AOL-Time Warner, which was formed when AOL acquired Time Warner for $160 billion in 2000 (National Vanguard Books, 2004). Prior to the merger, AOL was the largest Internet service provider in the United States, and it will now be used as an online platform for the content from Time Warner. Time Warner was the second largest of the international media companies when AOL bought it. The second-largest media conglomerate today is the Walt Disney Company, which includes several television production companies (Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Television) and cable networks with more than 100 million subscribers in total.

The largest three companies in television network broadcasting used to be ABC, CBS, and NBC (National Vanguard Books, 2004). With the consolidation of the media empires, these three are no longer independent companies. Six mega-corporations (AOL Time Warner, Disney-ABC, GE-NBC, Viacom-CBS-Westinghouse, Bertelsman, and Murdoch's News Corp-Fox) control the majority of media outlets in television, cable, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet (Kidd, 2001). As a result, they also control the majority of information, artistic and cultural expression, and public discussion in the United States.

According to Bagdikian (2000): "In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal.... [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine.... [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three.... [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever.... [in 2000] AOL Time Warner's $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983]."

The monopoly on today's media is controlled by these enormous conglomerates that have secured monopoly control of the majority of our media landscape (McChesney and Nichols, 2002). Because of the monopoly, the traditional idea of a free press, where anyone can launch a medium and participate in the industry, is shattered.

Many people mistakenly believe that the United States' media system developed naturally through "market forces (Free Press, 2005)." While market forces had a role to play in shaping today's media, these market forces only act within a set of "ground rules" that are constantly changing. Our media system is the direct result of government policy that determines how the media operates. The key players that make the rules include the following: "the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress and the President, the courts, local government, industry lobbies, and public interest groups." When communications policy is made, legislators make the decisions. So, in many cases, rather than benefiting the information needs of democracy, ensuring thorough debate on a wide range of issues, they benefit the needs of large communications conglomerates and stakeholders.

The FCC… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Media Conglomeration.  (2005, April 27).  Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/media-conglomeration/9748130

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"Media Conglomeration."  Essaytown.com.  April 27, 2005.  Accessed October 16, 2019.
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