ACCESS • Can anyone “own” information? • Who has access to this information? • What are the barriers to entry? • What are the implications of media concentration? • How has the Internet changed ownership? • From the Digital Divide to the Participation Gap
“It’s not My Fetish, I swear” “Go Ahead, Waterboard Me” “Caught Wet and Half Naked” “Sir, don’t you realize the water in the mall fountains is only 2 feet deep…and the $250 you collected will cover only 2% of your court fees” “Learning from the past, right-wing terrorists come prepared for waterboarding” But your honor I’m wearing my best suit”
“That Johnny Potatoes sure shouldn’t have worn his bathing to court” “I get the feeling that I left my coffee on the roof” “21st Century Men in Black relying on old definition of illegal alien” “That’s smart, Eddie. The first place cops look is in the trunk.” “I feel like we forgot to do something Tony…” “At least I’m not wearing a Jets Jersey”
“Quick, what’s the score,…damn I can’t believe I missed that pass” “Why can’t I escape these bars?” “After that stint, I couldn’t sit down even if you had a barstool…” “Are you guys hiring?” “Most men drink to escape. I escape to drink.” “When the Warden finds out I’m gonna be in a HOLE lot of trouble”
MR. MEDIA & you
FOUNDATIONS OF THE EXPLORATION • Who are the big Media Companies, and what are the implications of their growth? • Do we (citizens) really have a voice? If so, what does it sound like?
Who is Mr. Media? Can you name the 6 media conglomerates that own and operate over 75% of the mass media messages you see today?
Table 1: World’s Largest Media Companies • World’s Largest Media companies • (total revenue in 2008) • Company Revenue (in Billions) • General Electric $183* • Walt Disney Co. $37.8 • News Corporation $33 • Time Warner $29.8 • Viacom $14.6 • CBS $14 • * approx. 25 USbillion revenue from media ventures Source: FreePress Ownership Chart: http://www.freepress.net/resources/ownership
1. Merge & Acquire • 1996 Congress passes Telecommunications Act. • FCC continues to ease ownership regulations.
Synergy Definition: refers to the dynamic in which components of a company work together to produce benefits that would be impossible for a single, separately operated unit of the company
Branding If a brand is associated with a quality or image that a consumer likes, the consumer tends to choose the branded version of a traditional product or to try a new product from the same brand
Branding • Spin offs: ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Classic • Publication: ESPN, the magazine • Web site: espn.com • Retail outlet: ESPN, the Store • Sport-themed restaurant: The ESPN Zone Owned by…
Growth/Expansion Globally • Domestic markets are saturated with media products, so companies see international growth as key • Media conglomerates are in effective positions to compete with – and dominate – local media in other countries • By distributing existing media products to other countries, media companies can add revenue at little cost
3. Globalization One product, that is adapted to be viewed in the following countries: …
Globalization India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, Brunei, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Papa New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Greece, Israel, Romania, 30 territories including: Russia, Middle East, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, Malta, Moldova. And…Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Bolivia, Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, United States (select Hispanic markets) Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Russia, many countries in Africa…and on and on and on: totaling MTV being tailored for viewing in: 164 Countries! Cultural imperialism
4. DEREGULATION Markets and the General Electric Conundrum…
Table 1: World’s Largest Media Companies • World’s Largest Media companies • (total revenue in 2005) • Company Revenue (in Billions) • General Electric $157.2* • Time Warner $43.7 • Walt Disney Co. $31.9 • News Corporation $23.9 • Bertelsmann $22.2 • CBS $14.5 • Viacom $9.8 • * 14.7 USbillion revenue from media ventures Source: FreePress Ownership Chart: http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart.php
And they also own Military Production: Manufactures and maintains engines for the F-16 Fighter jet, Abrams tank, Apache helicopter, U2 Bomber, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), A-10 aircraft, and numerous military equipment including planes, helicopters, tanks, and more. GE COMMERCIAL FINANCEGE HEALTHCARE GE ADVANCED MATERIALSGE INFRASTRUCTURE GE CONSUMER & INDUSTRIAL GE INSURANCE GE MONEY GE TRANSPORTATION GE ENERGY
What are the ethical implications of GE’s portfolio of companies? • Is there autonomy across their sectors of business? • Can they maintain neutrality with their portfolio? • How do their holdings help them produce information?
Markets vs. the Public Sphere A comparison of models
The Market Model “society’s needs can best be met through a relatively unregulated process of exchange based on the dynamics of supply and demand. This model treats the media like all other goods and services” (15).
“media” Markets promote _______________? • Efficiency • Responsiveness • Flexibility • innovation
Types of Competition • Homogenized Monopoly • Diverse Monopoly • Homogenized Competition • Diverse Competition ….Oligopoly
The Public Sphere “media are more than simply profit-making components of large conglomerates. Instead, they are our primary information sources and storytellers” (20).
Jurgen Habermas [his] “model posits an open mass media system that is widely accessible. It argues that information should circulate freely, without government intervention to restrict the flow of ideas…fundamentally the public sphere views people as citizens rather than consumers. Furthermore it contends media should serve these citizens rather than “target” potential consumers” (20).
For the Public Sphere: • Markets are undemocratic • Markets reproduce inequality • Markets are amoral • Markets do not necessarily meet social needs • Markets do not necessarily meet democratic needs
Why markets may not work in this model…. • Advertising and the Media – a “dual product” market… • Civic resources – media are the bridge to democracy and education…how can they be products? • Legal – Media enjoys special legal protection (1st Amendment: “congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”)
“Profit seeking and public service are not either/or propositions. Instead, the civic responsibilities of media have historically been met within the framework of commercial business…[in the 80s] that delicate balance shifted even further in favor of pursuing greater profits over concern of public service” (31).
Market – Whatever the public is interested in Sphere – Media responsibility to…. a. Promote diversity (Avoid homogenity) b. Provide Substance (w/out Elitism)
“The media’s role in facilitating democracy and encouraging citizenship has always been in tension with its status as a profit making industry…” (38)
What do we need to make media serve us in reliably, independently and credibly?