Ownership and Control
The number of media outlets has increased dramitcally in the last 30 years, suggesting an increase of choice in the media for consumers:
- increase of T.V channels - from 4 to hundreds that are available today.
- the number of free magazines and newspapers has increased substantially.
- the internet is now available to most.
However, some sociologists suggest this apparant increase of choice is just an illusion - to a point where consumer choice has actually declined.
A number of trends have lead to this contraction of choice.
Concentration of Ownership
Bagdikian (2004) notes the trends of ownership in the media in America:
- In 1983 50 corporations controlled most of news media.
- In 1992 22 companies controlled 90% of all mass media.
- In 2004 7 corporations control all mass media.
These companies are are now moving into cybermedia - where there are potentially huge profits to be made.
The British Print Media
Curran (2003) - suggests that concentration of ownership of British newpapers is not a new phenomenon.