That’s a lot of ground to cover – so let me cut to the chase. I want to begin by picking up one topic from last week’s “Start Here” post: The bit about how Robert Reich called many Internet media companies too big. Somewhat oddly, the wikipedia.org article about Media Concentration doesn’t mention any of the companies singled out by Robert Reich – not even once. Wikipedia.org notes some „Debates and Issues“ associated with media concentration:
- Commercially driven, ultra-powerful mass market media is primarily loyal to sponsors, i.e. advertisers and government rather than to the public interest.
- Only a few companies representing the interests of a minority elite control the public airwaves.
- Healthy, market-based competition is absent, leading to slower innovation and increased prices.
[the article also goes on to discuss other debates / issues, including e.g. „Freedom of the Press“]
In my opinion, it seems noteworthy that something which is very obvious to many commentators is nonetheless overlooked by wikipedia.org – I feel this seems like wikipedia.org may in fact be biased (note that wikipedia.org has received a lot of financial support from Google).
The notion that there might be a high degree of media concentration on the World Wide Web may appear rather implausible – after all, there are many millions of websites on the web. On most browsers, you can quite simply type in the names of these websites. Why don’t most people do that? Because most people are apparently not very literate when they use the web. Most people will type in one of just a few brand names – such as „Google“. So even though there is not – in fact – a great deal of media concentration on the web, there is indeed a very strong degree of concentration with respect to „mind share“.
Again according to wikipedia.org:
Mind share relates generally to the development of consumer awareness or popularity, and is one of the main objectives of advertising and promotion. When people think of examples of a product type or category, they usually think of a limited number of brand names. The aim of mind share is to establish a brand as being one of the best kinds of a given product or service, and to even have the brand name become a synonym for the product or service offered.