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The concentration of media ownership is a term often used to describe a situation where a few corporation own most of the media. Watch out for questions which are phrased like this.
Cross-media ownership – bigger media companies often own a range of media. Eg. News Corps also own HarperCollins, New York Post, Fox TV, 20th Century Fox Vertical Integration – companies are attempting to control all aspects of the industry. Eg. Time Warner make films, own the cinemas, produce and distribute the films, owns TV studios etc Diversification – companies branch out into new areas to spread the risk. Eg. Virgin airways, music, digital TV etc Synergy – media companies using different ways to package their products. Eg. Spiderman is not just a movie, but a soundtrack, a comic, a video game etc Technological convergence – media products that do more than one thing. Eg. A mobile phone which takes video and pictures, downloads movies etc.
A2 SOCIOLOGY: MASS
Ownership & Control: Key Developments
By the end of the session:....
a. To know and understand the differences between vertical
and horizontal integration.
b. To know and understand monopoly and pluralism
c. To have studied Murdoch’s role in media ownership
d. Outcomes: To have researched case studies on ownership
and the Sutton trust
What does virgin own and
This is known as ‘Diversification’.
Companies such as Virgin maintain a
monopoly over many forms of media
– spreading the risk of loss and profit.
What could be lost in sales through
their airlines can be gained through
virgin broadband as an example.
• There has been an increased concentration of ownership
into a few giant media corporations.
Media Companies have...
• ...become more transnational – exist in a number
of different countries
• ..become more diverse – have an interest in many
different forms of media
Ownership and control
• Some sociologists have expressed concern about recent
trends in ownership and control. On the surface the
number of media outlets available to the general public has
• In the 1980s there were only four main terrestrial channels.
• Can you name as many tv channels as possible? Fill in the
squared chart on your table and see if you can complete all
the squares with tv channels that you know.
• This increase indicates that there is more choice now than
ever. In your groups discuss whether you believe this to be the
• Once you have decided on either YES (there is more choice)
OR NO (the choice isn’t as great as you would think) try to
come up with evidence to support your groups view.
i.e. YES because... OR NO because.....
Read through the handout on media concentration in Europe and the
USA. Highlight key points on ownership and think about reasons why
companies wish to have a monopoly over media
Place your explanation under the yes or no
category – for example:
There are a wider variety
of channels that cater for
wider audiences. Services
such as sky plus enables
you to subscribe to
channels and record shows
The quality of shows
has declined. In 1983,
controlled the vast
majority of all media
in the USA.
However, in 1992, 22
and operated 90% of
The UK magazine
market is dominated
by a major company.
Country Life, What’s
on TV, Elle, FHM –
all owned by IPC –
part of Time Warner
Warner Bros Movies
Time Warner Film Production
and Distribution Vertical integration
MTV: now in UK, USA, China, India, Spain, Italy etc...
Spiderman: The Movie
At cinemas soon!
Buy Spiderman for your Play
Spiderman: The soundtrack
Synergy – media companies have packaged
their products in other ways
Main changes: Define these terms
Now read page 140-141 and make notes
on the broadcasting of media and why we
should study media ownership and control
Why is it important that media is owned by many
companies, rather than just one?
From a Marxist point of view, do these companies promote
What is the pluralist theory of media ownership?
• Global Murdoch empire
Does it matter who owns the
Australian American business magnate. Murdoch became managing
director of Australia's News Limited, inherited from his father, in 1952.
He is the founder, Chairman and CEO of global media holding company
News Corporation, the world's second-largest media conglomerate.
In the 1950s and '60s, he acquired various newspapers in Australia and
New Zealand, before expanding into the United Kingdom in 1969, taking
over the News of the World followed closely by The Sun.
He owns the Times, the Sun the News of the World and the Sunday
Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the
World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the
phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and
government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British
government and FBI investigations in the
Research: case study
• Using the ipads and the links on your handouts, research
the case study over growing concerns over the power and
influence of media ownership and explain issues that the
CPBF are concerned about the level of ownership and
control of the media.
• Then research the Sutton trust – find out the educational
background of leading journalists and how this affects
powerful groups in society and the way media is controlled.
Links you can use for research
Home learning: Wednesday 17th
• Explain the differences between vertical and horizontal
integration (4 marks)
• Explain what sociologists mean by pluralism in mass
media (4 marks)
• Explain what sociologists mean by monopoly in mass
media (4 marks).
Learn the key words we have covered today –revise notes on ownership