Audio Study: Is Media Conglomerate Really An Issue?

April 2, 2018


Voiceover: in the early 1980s, about 50 different companies owned 90% of American media. In recent years that same 90 percent has fallen to just six major conglomerates, Including Comcast, Disney, Time Warner, CBS, Viacom, and 21st Century Fox. Most of the big six hold interests in film production, cable, broadcast television news, music, and online streaming.

Voiceover: So we asked students at USC if they think it is really a problem or not.

Student A: They want to secure the chain of revenue so by purchasing the other smaller areas in the type of field they are able to secure the revenue really fast. So let’s say that if you distribute a movie and you own the theater chain, the money goes back to you; you don’t have to go all the way around to find another distributor

Student B: Although the large media companies may provide better services, it may result in excessive concentration of power. It will have some negative effects of diversity of news.

Voiceover: Some students also talked about the issue of limited diversity.

Student C: The large media company will silence alternative views which will lead to a decline in democratic viewpoints. I think it also leads to less meaningful competition in the media industry, which causes to news producers to lack the incentive to improve the quality to the news. It will definitely undermine the sense of culture in society in the United States.

Voiceover: So I’ve asked a few students about media conglomerates, and the responses were diverse. Some students don’t think this is even an issue.

Student A: I know that in the US there are still antitrust laws to prohibit one major player to own another major player.

Voiceover: They take it as opportunities.

Student D: Think about the visual effects in films like Black Panther. It’s costly to produce such amazing films especially sci-fi films. These companies devoted so much money to it. That’s the nature of the market which makes small companies hard to get involved.

Student F: Nowadays it’s costly due to the visual effects, but what if one day the technology advances and everyone can make wonderful visual effects with a simple click? For instance, if technology of VR improves, can we make wonderful films in VR? Can we incorporate AI as actors?

Voiceover: Ok. Welcome back. So media conglomerate causes some issues and challenges to the society but it also creates opportunities for starters and for the public to access advanced technology.

Voiceover: This is Mars. Thanks for your listening.

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