This week’s topic for BCM110 was ‘Media Industries’. We were asked “who owns/controls the media that you use on a daily basis, and does it matter?” Upon being asked this, I realised that in hindsight, I really don’t know all that much about who owns the media I use and how this affects me.
Considering how deeply integrated media is in my daily life, I realised that I not only wanted but needed to know more about who those in power are and how they can and do control me.
Every day I interact with multiple media outlets. I view things on T.V, hear things on the radio, and predominantly read things on the Internet. But who, I ask, is behind all of these platforms, deciding what content is shown and in what way?
I researched some statistics about who currently (in 2016) owns what in relation to media. The figures are as follows:
Kerry Stokes: Controls Channel 7 which is owned by Seven West Media (through his majority investment in Seven Group) “Apart from its main TV station 7, it also owns or has stakes in the West Australian, Pacific Magazines, Yahoo7 and Sky News.” (Goncalves, R 2013)
Bruce Gordon: One of the predominant owners of the Channel 9 corporation, (however it is noted that Channel 9 isn’t owned by any one person.) Gordon owns regional television network WIN TV – which is family owned. Additionally, he owns nearly 15% of Channel 10.
Lachlan Murdoch: Holds 7.68% of shares in Channel 10. Murdoch owns 100% of NOVA and is co-chairman of News Corporation (US), which owns 100% of New Corp Australia. Additionally, Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman for News Corporation (US).
I found that the more I researched and delved into the confusing world of media ownership, the more confused I became. It seemed to be that the same powerful plutocrats held sole or joint power in most if not all media platforms.
This ownership in the media is most evident in the influence that is cast over political issues.
“In this sense, the media have enormous power over national elections… those candidates who are placed on the media’s agenda have a chance to win; those that are ignored languish. Those issues – either policy or personal – which the media spotlight become the yardsticks for measuring candidates. When candidates receive heavy (and favourable) publicity, their campaigns flourish… (Lichter and Noyes 1995, p. 24)
Plutocrats such as Murdoch and Stokes have extreme power in the things we view, read and hear. However these people are not only good at holding the control, but are also great at hiding the fact that they do.