Mass Media Unit 3 A2 Sociology


Mass Media.


The major difference in media ownership and control compared to 40 years ago is the movement of media corporations into the global marketplace, major media companies are now ‘Global conglomerations’

Horizontal and vertical integration

- NewsCorp (Owned by Murdoch) is a horizontal integration, as they own a wide range of media products.
- Film corporations are vertical integration as they focus on all aspects of their production. They make movies but distribute them to their own cinema chains.

Diversification, Synergy, Technological convergence

- Virgin began as a music label, but diversified into other fields, expanding in wider products like banking, transport, vodka etc.
- Companies synergise their products, E.G. a film is accompanied by a soundtrack album, game or toy action figures.
- Technological convergence involves putting several technologies into one media product.

Theories of media ownership and control

Doyle: Too much concentration of media ownership is dangerous as the media have the power to make or break political careers and have influence over public opinion.

- Pluralist: Media content is mainly shaped by consumer demand. The audience are the real power holders as they have the right to buy or not buy (Market mechanism). Pluralists argue that it’s impossible for owners to interfere with content of newspapers/TV programmes, as their businesses are economically far too complex. BBC is a PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) and has a legal obligation to inform educate and ensure all programmes are diverse.

- Marxist:
 Capitalist class use its cultural power to dominate institutions like education and the media to transmit ruling class ideology, to socialise the W/C into accepting the capitalist system and ideas. Marxists say W/C experience false class-consciousness and accept the capitalist system.
Milliband: media shape how we think about the world we live in and say audiences are rarely informed about important issues.
Tunstall and Palmer: Governments no longer care about controlling the media owners, as they need their support to gain/hang on to power.
- Traditional Marxists: Owners of media control content as it goes through editors and gatekeepers.
- Neo Marxists: Media emphasises hegemony. Althuser: mass media part of ISA

- GUMG: Media puts across the cultural hegemony of the ruling class.

Barnett and Weymour: TV in UK has been dumbed down, E.G. number of one-off dramas and documentaries has halved while soaps and cheap reality shows have increased.  Despite having hundreds of channels, we don’t have more choice, it’s all the same thing (The fallacy of choice)

Agenda setting: Media decide what issues are discussed by society and which aren’t = agenda setting, which results in cultural hegemony. 


In 2005, 72% of people said TV was their primary source of news coverage.

McQuail: News isn’t objective. It is a socially manufactured product, an end result of a selective process. Gatekeepers chose what events are important enough to cover and how to cover them.

The news is shaped by the way TV news companies and…


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