So media ownership, does it matter to me? Well in regards to the ownership of traditional media, such as newspapers and news outlets of any kind, so the Daily Telegraph, The Herald, etc, my opinion is that it’s okay for a small number of individuals or companies to own those outlets on the condition that they do not manage the content of those outlets and leave that moderation of content to professionals who merely keep bias out of it and follow legal guidelines for their content. However this is probably completely unreasonable to ask of modern large scale corporations such as News Corp and their 800+ subsidiary companies just because of the sheer amount of market share they have. However to shift focus to a more modern day example of media ownership, there is a growing problem in the gaming industry where players are more and more often treating their accounts in video games as their own property, however in that game’s End User Licence Agreement it states that all accounts and related information is owned by the company.
A Professor in Media and Communication (Terry Flew) said “Intellectual property is much better suited to conventional ‘texts’ that are fixed or finished, rather than ongoing collaborative creations like games”. This quote is what sparked my interest in the context of the question of media ownership outside of the traditional news corporation format. Another example similar to the gaming industry is Google and their ownership of 15 different advertising agencies ranging from Online advertising to In-game advertising to mobile advertising. Is it not concerning that one company as large as Google owns 15 different ad agencies that attribute to Google’s ‘Adwords’ network or another one of their own marketing departments? The amount of raw data about Google’s users must be absolutely astounding given the amount of use their search engine gets used, and that’s not even factoring in that they also own YouTube, Motorola, Android, . Just to put into perspective the amount of reach Google has, here is a comprehensive list of all of Google’s mergers and acquisitions. Notice that some of the highest prices companies are companies like Admob ($750,000,000) and DoubleClick ($3,100,000,000), both of which contribute to Google’s Adsense department, this is not small time Advertising department they have going, this is large scale, mass market ad tracking and personalised ad targeting. And if you still think there can’t be that much data on users, 20% of worldwide internet traffic is solely YouTube
So to raise the question again “Does it matter who ‘owns’ the media?”, I think it deeply depends on the platform and format of the media involved, because while I don’t have too much of a problem with game companies owning gaming accounts, I would most definitely have a problem with a handful of individuals exerting their influence over news media outlets. How can we regulate the difference between these media platforms and their ownership? To put it very simply, we can’t. Sure we can legislate against monopoly but in reality the only way to bring down the influence of such heavily controlled news companies is to unsubscribe from using their platforms. Which is no small feat with the amount of market share someone like Rupert Murdoch has over us.