Ownership and the media


Ownership and control of the media


Trends and patterns:


  • Concentration: Media being owned by smaller number of organisations Threat to democracy due to less views expressed - views of rich and powerful
  • Vertical integration: All stages in production, distribution and consumption being owned by one company e.g. sky owning satellite company. Increases control and cuts costs.

-          Bagdikian (2000) - "corporations which have control of a total process... also have few motives for genuine innovation and the power to seize out anyone else who tries to compete."


  • Horizontal integration: Takeover/merger of companies in same/similar section of media e.g. Murdoch owning Fox and Sky Reduces competition, gives control of market

 -          Similar to hostile takeover - taking over against their will


  • Transnational ownership: Process of globalisation, a company who reach a wide global audience e.g. Disney.
  • Diversification: Owning many media products or owning other business e.g. AOL and Time Warner merged and now own record labels, theme parks and sports teams etc. 

 - Rupert Murdoch exercised all of these expect for Synergy.

  • Synergy: Media companies which produce products connected to their business e.g. Harry Potter books, games etc


·         Believe that power and control lie with the ruling class (bourgeoisie). Marxists use the term ideology to explain how the ruling class establishes ideas that maintain its interests, people accept this as norm.

 ·         Miliband (1969) argued that bourgeoisie uses mass media to control society by creating false picture of reality – presents capitalism in a positive way, making inequality seem inevitable/justifiable. False class-consciousness so proletariat don't revolt.

 ·         Miliband (1969) - "opium of the people" = mass media replacing religion as drug that numbs the senses and produces illusion of happiness.

 ·         Media divert proletariat's attention away from exploitation and oppression (Adorno - popular culture distracts us from important social events) e.g. Murdoch - journalists complained of prevention from reporting critically e.g. about Israel due to Murdoch's business dealings/friendship with prime minister.

 ·         Marxists see trends as strengthening the control of owners and giving them wider range of power over diverse area.



 ·         Present an overly conspiratorial view of role of owners, whose main aim is to provide audience's demands

 ·         Owners aim to make profit, brings them into conflict with other owners. This questions idea of owners being united group that seeks to impose singular ideology.

 ·         Criticised for failing to take into account the role of media professions constructing news e.g. John Pilger - created many influential products that provide in depth critical analysis

 ·         Pluralists believe that there is more balance of power. Argue Marxists ignore range of views offered in media including those who criticise the powerful e.g. George Monbiotare – given space to present alternative views that challenge capitalist system 


Negrine (1989) Criticisms:

 ·         Evidence to support


No comments have yet been made