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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lesson 2: Conglomorates

"Having a few huge corporations control our outlets of expression could lead to less aggressive news coverage and a more muted marketplace of ideas."

— Rifka Rosenwein, Why Media Mergers Matter, Brill’s Content, December 1999

Media titles owned by News Corporation
Stock market symbol: NWC
Read News Corporation's corporate news
Fox News Channel (tv)
News of the World (newspapers)
Scottish News of the World (newspapers)
Real Estate TV (tv) Worldwide
Skymag (magazines)
The Sun (newspapers)
The Scottish Sun (newspapers)
The Sunday Times Travel Magazine (magazines)
SunTalk (radio) Internet
The Times (newspapers)
The Times International Edition (newspapers)
The Sunday Times Scotland (newspapers)
The Sunday Times (newspapers)

Vertical Integration
Many of the large media company owners are entertainment companies and have vertical integration (i.e. own operations and businesses) across various industries and verticals, such as distribution networks, toys and clothing manufacture and/or retailing etc. That means that while this is good for their business, the diversity of opinions and issues we can see being discussed by them will be less well covered. (One cannot expect Disney, for example, to talk too much about sweatshop labor when it is accused of being involved in such things itself.) The wider ramifications are highlighted well in this following quote:

Vertical Integration was once looked upon with alarm by government. It was understood that corporations which have control of a total process, from raw material to fabrication to sales, also have few motives for genuine innovation and the power to seize out anyone else who tries to compete. This situation distorts the economy with monopolistic control over prices. Today, government has become sympathetic to dominant vertical corporations that have merged into ever larger total systems. These corporations, including those in the media, have remained largely unrestrained.

— Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), p. xvii


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