Globalized Media Mean Increasing Concentration Of Media Conglomerates Media
Globalization in communication has made better connections among different media organizations around the world. As a result, the local media becomes more integrated into the global system. Will this trend lead to concentration of media conglomerates in the West?
According to Sreberny (2009), the circumstance in globalization era can stimulate the growth of media conglomerates in the West, which is spreading the cross culture information and services in various regions. As can be seen, numerous transnational media products such as news, movies, TV shows, advertisements and music, which can be found in the different market, may be produced by the same media group. This provides a large number of opportunities for overseas customers to consume media products from the western countries. From these reasons, it seems that a globalized media means increasing concentration of media conglomerates in the West. This essay will review some performances of globalized media and analyze some factors of media conglomerates in the West, then discuss the relation between them.
2. Literature Review
2.1 A Globalized Media
Firstly, a globalized media, which was caused by economic globalization, has probably become one of the most important changes in recent years. The theories of globalization were first stated in the last decade of 20th century. At that period, a large amount of information was shared worldwide through the satellite TV. After nearly ten year's development, Demers (2002) predicts that the world media business will be dominated by small groups of "Media Giants", especially the media conglomerates in the West. There is a trend of combining corporations that works to progress the motivation of the global market and encourage commercial profits.
Secondly, media institutions were gradually increasing in income during last decades. For instance, as Demers (2002) says, Time Warner obtained about 25% of profits from overseas markets in 1997. In contrast, it had sharply risen to around 55% in ten years. This increase also happened in the other "Media Giants", such as Bertelsmann, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation and Viacom.
Thirdly, a globalized media caused transnational homogenization. Some leading media organizations will post global commoditization by spreading the same idea via the same media products. Appadurai (1990) also agrees with this idea by indicating that "the globalization of culture is not the same as its homogenization, but globalization involves the use of a variety of instruments of homogenization (armaments, advertising techniques, language hegemonies and the like)."
Fourthly, Sreberny (1997) mentioned that all countries need to protect local industries, culture and policy by setting national trade barriers. In some case, exporting countries can produce media products which against the local culture. For example, despite the Hollywood film sex and the city 2 was shoot in Abu Dhabi, it is still forbidden to show in Arabic countries for the cultural gap. In another case, some countries perhaps give an aid to local media system to produce for themselves and escape the cultural imperialism in the West.
2.2 Media Conglomerates in the West
Either media enterprises or corporations, in the globalized era, play a significant role in the transnational media development. In the last century, there has an increasing number of transnational media companies established since the media developed rapidly. Merger has become a effective form of corporation marketing strategies.
As it is shown above, the globalized media enhances the worldwide competitiveness, and then the efficiency of resource allocation might be improved. Then, it may encourage the efficiency of production, the use of new technology, also the improvement of marketing methods. This also benefits to consumers because it is ensured that low price and a variety of products will be supplied. (Kotler, 2000)
Consequently, in order to promote efficiency of resource allocation and to seek economies of scale, media companies obey the same marketing principles, which will lead to media conglomerates. These varieties of media conglomerates are not only to produce media products, but also to expand the idea of globalization. Currently, the transnational development of media conglomerates has been hastened through various kinds of strategies in western countries.
In fact, the essential purpose of media corporations is maximizing monetary profits. Picard (2002) claimed that even noncommercial media need to make profit that can be used to extend their content and to operate organizations. Whether called media conglomerates global media, megamedia or transnational media, nowadays media conglomerates are expanding at a high speed. What kind of motivation leads to such high speed? Thus, the need to demonstrate the relation between globalized media and the media conglomerates.
3. Will a Globalized Media Lead to the Media Conglomerates?
3.1 Globalizaed Profits: the Success of Murdoch
As it discussed above, the essential purpose of media conglomerates is maximizing monetary profits. A globalized media means a global market, the largest market in the earth, the main reason of many media companies become media conglomerates is seeking for globalized profits.
According to Thussu (2007), more than 25,000,000,000 audiences all over the world spend 3 hours on watching TV per day. In globalized television market, even in countries such as China, although the state and the government still control most of the media, commercial increase on television market is the largest growth in the world
One of the most important effects on the television scene in China during this period of extraordinary growth has been Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, whose Asian branch called Star (Satellite Television Asian Region) has converted news and entertainment on television in China, as same as other countries in Asia (Thussu, 2007).
As the world's biggest and new prospective media market, Murdoch has devoted a lot of money in Asian. First, News Corporation has launched the satellite television in 1999, from Star TV headquarters in China, four channels (Star Sports, Star TV, Star Movie and Channel [V]). Second, Murdoch cooperates with some local media firms, such as Phoenix TV. Phoenix TV is nearly the only non-governmental television in China, influencing millions of audiences. Third, a large number of media products are sold to China. Hong Kong media group ATV bought an international game show from Murdoch's company in 2001-2005: the game show Who Wants to Be the Millionaire?
3.2 Globalizaed Information: CondéNet International
In the new globalized economy, information becomes one of the most important factors of production, marketing and management. This mode of business describes the overall "information economy", which is playing an increasingly important role. Perhaps the most important development within the information economy is the economic explosion caused by global information technology and commerce. It is also a reason to media conglomerates in the West.
CondéNet International, the global digital division of magazine giant Condénast, was established in 1995. As CondéNet attempts to spread its internet sites--many of the companies in the group like Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Self and others. Now CondéNet create more than 430,000,000 hits every month. Globalized information is offered by CondéNet International, nearly 24,000,000 users from 17 countries and regions are being provided with the high quality Internet-related services.
Besides the internet, CondéNet international also supplies the advertising consulter service all over the world, such as industry information, case studies, advanced online community analysis. CondéNet international may satisfy the demand from different states, for example successful modes in the UK can be easily shared with India. Therefore, media conglomerates can be supported by globalized information.
3.3 Globalizaed Competition: Facebook's Failure in China
From Murdoch's case, it seems that the profits of global market will lead to the media conglomerates. However, faced with the transnational competition, the media conglomerates may not be success all the time.
Xiaonei (now rebrand as RenRen.com), one of the most successful China's networks, does not only look like Facebook, but also plays as a leading role in Web2.0 market in China. However, Facebook is always the pioneer of Web2.0 in the West. Why does Facebook lose the Chinese market?
A globalized media brings worldwide information to the people, but it doesn't mean media conglomerates can seize the chance. That's because the market is so new, like Web2.0, and it's only accrued in a few years, so Asia's consumers have begun to enjoy the choice.
Friendster had advantages of being the pioneer, but it is difficult to copy the same business in China. After 3 years' effort, Xiaonei, which means in campus, has grown beyond its campus roots. Rebranding to RenRen, which means everyone in Chinese, this company shows a growing his ambitious among China's social networks, due to customers are growing fast among graduated students.
With the local market being particular, media conglomerates need to do more, or may not benefit from globalization. In order to expand the business, transnational media groups should not only adapt to the cultural, but also do more market study about competitors. Just like if Facebook, if a media conglomerate wants to win in a new circumstance, it may need to learn something from the local friend.
3.4 Localized Culture Conflicts: Google.cn
In spite of the attractive advantages from globalization, most of the media conglomerates have to face transnational culture clashes in some particular situation. Levy (2006) states that internet companies doing business in China is needed to obtain license by signing the agreement "Public Pledge on Self Discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry". This agreement asks internet companies to censor content on all the provided services. Such as Yahoo and MSN signed this agreement and decided to censor the services, including search engines, blogs, e-mail and websites for China's market.
Google.cn's license should be renewed on June, 2010. But it seems that may not come to pass if Google continues stopping censoring of its search engine results. Finally Google has decided to leave China, Google.cn has changed its search engine at Google.com.hk, which allows unfiltered results. In Google's official blog, David Drummond, the chief legal officer of corporate explains the decision is because of the Chinese government's "non-negotiable legal requirement".
Google may being establishing a reputation as an ethical company that would go to protect the freedom and privacy of its customers. While the question of whether Google's decision to leave China was wise or not, media conglomerates should learn something from this case, and find an appropriate solution of cross-cultural conflicts.
This paper has overviewed the background and some performances of a globalized media and media conglomerates in the West. By analyzing some typical cases, it shows the relationship between them: a globalized media doesn't exactly mean media conglomerates in the West.
On one hand, a globalized media may partially lead to media conglomerates in the West, due to it's enhance the companies' profits and satisfy the audiences' information need. On the other hand, media conglomerates may not be successful because of the competitors and the cultural conflicts, even under the same globalized media environment.
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