Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who Owns The Media That Owns You?

Many people don’t pay attention to who owns a publication or TV station, but they should. The guy who owns Amazon, owns The Washington Post. The guy who owns Cablevision, Knicks, and Rangers owns Newsday. The guy who owns The New York Post, WSJ, and Harper Collins also owns Fox-TV, 21st Century Fox, and over 800 companies in 50 countries.

Short of the government owning or influencing the media, the next biggest danger is having a handful of people own most of the major media. It’s spreading online as well. Google owns YouTube and Amazon owns GoodReads. The big buy up the small and competitors merge.

Stateofthemedia.org  reported in 2013 that:

·         The newspaper newsroom’s full-time professionals dropped below the 40,000 mark -- down 30% since 2000—for the first time since 1978.

·         The ratio of PR professionals to journalists was 1.2 to 1 in 1980. It was 3.6 to 1 in 2008—and has since grown with the editorial layoffs.

·         Since 1980, the three original networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS lost 52.6% of their evening news audience. About 50 million used to watch Brokaw, Jennings, and Rather. Now 22 million watch who, what, and where.

·         2006 is the all-time best ad revenue year for newspapers. After peaking at $49.275 billion in ad revenue (print and digital combined) it has fallen to $22.31 billion in 2012. Quite ismply, print revenue from ads collapsed from $47.4 billion in 2005 and online only grew from 1.216 billion in 2003 to a paltry 3.37 billion in 2012.

·         Daily newspaper readership went from around 62 million in 1990 to 45 million in 2012.

·         The number of newspapers dropped from 1,100 dailies in 1990 publishing evening editions to 550 in 2009, and morning dailies going from under 600 in 1990 to over 800 in 2009.

·         Since 2007, magazines lost 50% of its subscribers.

·         In 2002, the 22 largest newspaper groups owned 39% of all newspapers in the US and their combined circulation was 70% of daily circulation totals.

So, the state of the news media, as it relates to money, users, and influence, can be summarized as follows:

-          A handful of corporations and billionaires own most of the major mass media.

-          The number of newspaper and magazine readers, as well as television viewers, has steadily declined in the past decade while Internet content downloads, blogs, and ebooks have exploded.

-          The growth online, in certain areas, doesn’t make up for offline losses, both in subscriber revenue or ad revenue and in total number of content consumers.

-          The diversification of media has caused both a dilution in editorial content at any single source and a dilution of influence of any one source.
      However, there are still leaders in the media, and these leaders still carry a lot of weight in shaping public policy, entertainment, and commerce.

Not only do we need to question who owns which media, we need to question if the current forms of media are viable. Will print survive? Will digital fill the void? Can either work together to improve content distribution and creation—and prove financially viable?

In case you wonder who owns www.BookMarketingBuzzBlog.blogspot.com, it is I, Brian Feinblum. I am independent and I pay the price by not having a partner, not allowing advertising, and not charging subscriber fees. But I’m just a blogger. I don’t report news nor do I create it.

But the coming decade will be an important time for the mass media. Once it settles on a formula for making money and having a digital and physical world strategy, the media will grow and flourish. But consumers/citizens must always question who is feeding them what and to be wary of it all.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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