Thursday, 15 November 2007

Globalisation and the Global Media

According to theorist Ben Bagdikian, by the year 2010 there will be only five owners in the media in the North of America. This is due to buyouts and merging of companies such as the powerful Time Warner AOL who blended in 2001. The occurrence of this oligopoly and press conglomerates is subsequently looked upon as a form of globalisation within the media, as the once segmented ownership is becoming more and more concentrated.

The most obvious example of a super power in the media is Rupert Murdoch, who owns BskyB, Fox, Harper Collins, The Times, The Sun and The News of the World as well as the other 175 papers he publishes world wide. His gross profit in 2005 would have been in the region of $7.2 billion, with an overall revenue of $55billion, and employs 15 000 people in his media empire.

Closer to home, one of the largest media companies in the UK is the Daily Mail and General Trust, who made profits of £234 million: a huge amount in any other industry, but weak against the example given above. Titles they own include Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and The Evening Standard. They also own Northcliffe papers, who are a regional paper producer.

On a slightly smaller scale, the Northern and Shell PLC, owned by ex porno magazine mogul Richard Desmond, made a profit of £1.4 million in 2004 with a turnover of £20 million. Although Desmond was forced into selling his top shelf titles like “skinny and wriggly”, he still owns magazines such as OK! And papers such as The Daily Star, and has kept his porno television channels. With only 200 employees, again out of context that is a respectable profit, but within the media world it is tiny.

All the dominant media ownerships have reaches throughout the world, but even smaller single title companies, with the aid of technologies and economic factors, can have their titles bought in nearly any country in the world. However this globalisation is not a new occurrence: European imperialism produced a global market by the end of the 19th Century. However, the technological and economic factors mentioned before have sped the process up hugely.

Theorist Tunstall claims that in television news, most foreign news is dominated by the US and UK, and comes from only three sources: Associated Press, Reuters and BBC. However, foreign news is expensive to obtain, which often leads to the “repurposing” of footage.

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