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Does Mega Media Control 90% of Content? 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the biggest-piece-of-the-pie dept.
smitty777 writes "FastCo has an intriguing article on the vast control of our media by the mega corporations. In the article, Cliff Kuang disputes such claims by the the Frugal Dad that the revenue for the Big Six was over $275.9 billion, and that these companies are in cahoots to control our viewing. Just how much do these companies control?"
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Does Mega Media Control 90% of Content?

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  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:29AM (#38343126) Journal

    and that these companies are in cohorts to control our viewing

    ... too bad they're not in cahoots to help improve the use of the English language.

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:39AM (#38343260) Homepage Journal

    Indeed. There's no agenda to put out crappy media, but the vast consolidation gives them an oligopoly. With only five competetitors, and all of them producing dreck, there's no need to produce anything BUT dreck.

    In the end it'll bite them in the ass; the RIAA companies are already obsolete, and as the price of video equipment comes down and the quality goes up, the same will happen to the movie/TV industry.

    Meanwhile, has anybody noticed how more pervasive advertising is than it was before all the consolidation? Three minutes of content followed by four minutes of commercials. It's insane and obscene. I've never seen as much advertising in my whole life as I have in the last ten years. And these people complain they can't make any money? Gomme a break!

  • by cmv1087 (2426970) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:40AM (#38343276)

    not disputing it. By asserting that profit margins are thin (so the incentive to take risks is lower), that media companies are messy businesses (apparently, he believes organized media output is a myth), and that the corporations listed are so large that controlling all departments is a tall order, he doesn't seem to think the consolidation is anything to worry about. His fact checking is minimal, mostly constrained to making fun of some math gone wrong and telling everyone that his bullshit detector is going off. The infographic itself is pretty neat, but the post criticizing is hardly worth reading, much less linking.

  • turn it off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anonieuweling (536832) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#38343300)
    You control that TV.
    You can turn it off.
    Online news can be so refreshing.
  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:45AM (#38343328) Homepage Journal

    Pretty much. They all play and or show what is most profitable. Thing is that what is most profitable is usually not what is best.
    The other issue are the cable companies. I live in a town of over 200,000 people. We can got only a single network OTA we get about 10 other stations that are religious and or none english but only one network. The reason is that the cable companies are pulling in the network stations from bigger markets near by. Before cable the other stations in my area would have been snapped up to be affiliates. Now the networks see no reason to do that. They get just as many viewers but from fewer stations.
    It isn't some great evil plot other than a plot to make as much money as possible.

  • Misleading title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumayNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:45AM (#38343330) Homepage Journal

    The title is misleading, and so is the article. The problem is that (what 90% of people see) is different from (90% of what people see).

    To answer the question (why is it a question? The article states as a fact), yes big media controls 90% of what is actualy distributed as old style media. That is different from saying that it owns 90% of the content, and much nearer to saying that a huge proportion of the people will only see what big media shows them.

    That is still a problem, but a different problem.

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:56AM (#38343454) Homepage Journal

    In the end it'll bite them in the ass; the RIAA companies are already obsolete

    For one thing, notable record labels provide promotion on commercial FM radio to reach people without smartphones capable of using Internet radio. Not every town has a college radio station that plays all genres. For another thing, even if the RIAA is obsolete, that doesn't mean NMPA, Harry Fox, ASCAP, BMI, and other trade associations of music publishers are obsolete.

    as the price of video equipment comes down and the quality goes up, the same will happen to the movie/TV industry.

    Even with the price of HDTV cameras plummeting, I don't see the price of competent writing, directing, acting, sets, and the like plummeting. Furthermore, a movie needs a soundtrack, and licensing diegetic music for use in movies set after 1922 can exceed and has exceeded (e.g. Clerks) the rest of the cost of the film put together.

  • by Cragen (697038) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:58AM (#38343484)
    If I could, I would turn it all off. (Being a developer, it's a bit hard.) I got sent overseas 30 years ago for a year. (Pre-Internet! lol) We usually got all non-ridiculous news in 3 - 4 days. So, I kicked my news habit. (There was no English TV either, so I also quite accidentally kicked my TV habit.) So, really, how much does this "news" really affect your life? No much, really. Have a nice day. Cheers!
  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:01PM (#38343520) Homepage Journal
    I don't see the price of competent writing, directing, acting, sets, and the like plummeting.

    Robert Rodriguez, Shane Carruth and hundreds of others would like to have a word with you.
  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:32PM (#38343886)

    The message of consumerism was far stronger and less diluted then than it is now.

    Perhaps you should take a look at what your grandkids and their friends are watching. I have trouble believing that you could push the consumerism message much stronger than this crap:

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossip_girl
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_the_city
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESPN (no, really, this is not just about sports)

    Today's methods of advertising and convincing people to buy things are less overt than they were in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, but they are far more effective. Popular TV shows, and especially shows whose target audience is the 13-24 age, are designed to cultivate a desire to buy things -- clothes, soft drinks, video games, fast food, music, etc. The whole point of MTV, from its inception, was to be a 24/7 advertisement to teenagers, and there has been an effort to maximize the amount of advertising that can be squeezed into every minute.

    Today's message is this: buy things. Period. You are not supposed to be a participant in a capitalist system, exchanging your skills and goods for some other person's, you are just supposed to buy things that other people made.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday December 12, 2011 @01:40PM (#38344792)

    You want NPR to be less compromised? Contribute more. The Public radio stations make it easy to donate whatever you want.

    Too hard? Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you wanted a solution, rather than just whine.

    For your reference, Public radio stations (at least mine) are approximately 30% compromised by corporations, 8% by the state government, 2% by the federal government, and 60% by the listening public.

    To paraphrase Asimov, to think that corporate media and public radio are equally compromised is to be more wrong than if you'd think just one of them was compromised.

  • Re:This is why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grcumb (781340) on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:10PM (#38347600) Homepage Journal

    [R]efuse it for long enough, and given the entitled "media should be free" attitude of the last 20 years.. Pretty soon, you should assume there will be no more high quality productions.

    That's just not valid. People have demonstrated time and again that they are willing to pay for content. What they object to is DRM'ed, broken, zone-locked, un-saveable, unusable-on-any-other-device content. So, when the best (or only) alternative is bittorrent, that's what they use. But as soon as reputable players start offering a convenient, easy-to-use service (like Amazon, the App Store or iTunes), they flock to it en masse.

    People hate commercials. People hate DRM. People hate being treated like criminals. People hate anything that stands between them and their enjoyment. But none of those statements mean that people do not ascribe value to the things that entertain them.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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