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  • Corporate media

    Corporate media is mass media production, distribution, ownership, and funding which is dominated by corporations and their CEOs. It is sometimes used as a pejorative term in place of mainstream media, which tends to also be used as a derisive term, to indicate a media system that does not serve the public interest.

    Media critics such as Robert McChesney, Ben Bagdikian, Ralph Nader, Jim Hightower, Noam Chomsky, Thom Hartmann, Edward S. Herman, Amy Goodman and Bernie Sanders suggest that such a media system, especially when allowed to dominate the mainstream media, inevitably will be manipulated by these same corporations to suit their own interests. These critics point out that the main national networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC, as well as most if not all of the smaller cable channels, are owned, funded, and controlled by an interconnected network of large corporate conglomerates and international banking interests, which may manipulate and filter out news that does not fit their corporate agenda. Media companies are slowly understanding how to accelerate the fluidity of media content across delivery channels to "expand revenue opportunities, broaden markets and reinforce consumer loyalties and commitments". Users are then understanding how to master these various media technologies to bring the flow of media more fully under their control and to interact/co-create with other users. Sometimes, these two forces reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding, relations between media producers and consumers. Sometimes the two forces conflict, resulting in constant renegotiations of power between these competing pressures on the new media ecology.

    As documented by authors Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, it is becoming increasingly common for video news releases (VNR) to be created by government and corporations, mimicking TV news story-format, to be used straight into broadcasting in a newscast.[citation needed] Other factors include the cost of litigation. Large corporations tend to sue over any news that are against their interests, causing great expense for the news editors. Even if the litigation is lost, the cost of time and pressure will certainly bias a reporter towards avoiding such possibility.

    To illustrate the growing problem of monocracy, Bagdikian notes that in the 1980s, "less than 1 percent of all corporations, have 87 percent of all sales. [The corporates] are the aristocrats of the American Industrial economy; the remaining 359,500, in terms of their national power, are the peasantry." This conflict continues to arise as "dominant media companies are further [integrating] into the ruling forces of the economy." The directorates of major companies interlock with others and control the content of multiple dominating media and information distribution (i.e., newspapers, magazines, radio and television companies, book publishers, film industries, and even multinational banking investors). They become directly influenced by still other powerful industry, creating the "Endless Chain" of mass media and economic aristocracy (Wardrip-Fruin, 479).

    In 1993, 90% of media was owned by 50 companies. Today, starting in 2011,the same 90% is controlled by 6 companies. These 6 companies include Comcast, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS. These 6 media companies are broken down into sub companies, for example, News-Corp is broken down into Fox, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post. Disney is broken down into ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramar, and Marvel Studios. Viacom is broken down into MTV, Nick Jr, BET, CMT, and Paramount Pictures. Time Warner cable is broken down into CNN, HBO, Time, and Warner Bros. Lastly, CBS is broken down into Showtime, Smithsonian channel, NFL.com, Jeopardy, and 60 minutes. 232 media executives control what media 277 million Americans consume. To put that into perspective, thats 1 media executive to 850,000 media consumers. These six big companies control 70% of cable and can make up to 275.9 billion revenue (2010 revenue for the big six). The media we receive by these 6 companies include movies which in 2010, their box office sales hit 7 billion, which is double what 140 smaller movie studios made.

    Several issues arise from the fusion; under law and business ethics, the director of a firm is obligated to act in best interest of the company he or she is involved in, and failure to oblige under some circumstances can be a federal crime. This creates a dilemma in the governance of mass media: the same person may be trapped in a situation where working for the best interest for one may damage the other corporation. Another problem which arises is that the same person can abuse his or her power to get away with injustice as exemplified by Bagdikian: "When Sears was accused by the Federal Trade Commission of dishonest advertising and promotion, the Tribune was one of the major papers that failed to carry a word of it... (Wardrip-Fruin, 481)." Here, a market industry was able to conceal their crime of fraud since it was also interlocked with the news media, one of the main distributors of such significant information.

    In summary, the concentration of massive media firms that control American public information is troublesome for the potential for deception misleads the public away from reality. The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs state that these facts raise fundamental issues as they can bear on social issues and possibly control the shape and direction of the nation's economy. It is further derived that "the summits of American business now control or powerfully influence the major media that create American public opinion" (Wardrip-Fruin, 483).