The Big 6 Media Conglomerates

Essay by 1sunnybunnyUniversity, Bachelor's June 2007

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

The holdings of the Big 6 Giants clearly prove that the media industry is dominated by a few firms in oligopoly. I am sure that most people are unaware of the fact that only a few conglomerates dominate mainstream media. Nonetheless, it is clearly true—the nine current media conglomerates together own more than 90% of the media market. In determining how oligopoly in the media industry affects the messages that people receive, it’s necessary not only to look at the market share controlled by conglomerates in aggregate, but rather by each conglomerate. I contend that if a single conglomerate controls a substantial portion of the media market, it carries huge control over people’s perceptions and values as a whole.

When a single conglomeration controls a variety of media, it avoids antitrust law through the use of synergy. The problem with synergy is that a major company has the capacity to use the same pieces of information and alter them slightly to fit the audiences of different networks and media.

Because there is less competition over media space, and because the use of a single perspective might be considered more cost effective, audience members are unable to witness as many unique perspectives when watching television or listening to the radio. Instead, we hear the same stories over and over again, but altered slightly to sustain an illusion of choice.

Michael Eisner claims that synergy doesn’t hurt society as long as the quality of programs remains high. Eisner’s argument thus seems to be a restatement of the skyscraper model—as long as television conglomerates promote “high culture,” we have nothing to fear. The unfortunate problem is that “quality” is subjective. One country’s quality is another country’s low culture. In addition, the idea of broadcasting on the basis of “quality” in and of itself...