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Time Warner

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In 1989, the largest Media Corporation was formed. The
integration of Time Inc. and Warner communications produced
, which in 1996 with the acquisition of Turner
broadcasting, regained it's status from Disney as the
largest media corporation in the world.
The company right now, with over 200 subsidiaries world-
wide, is becoming fully global with it's profits from the
USA falling, and it's profits throughout the world rising.
Globalisation is proving to be Time Warner's major asset in
beating other competition to the World market.
Currently, Time Warner has interests in many different
business fields. Music accounts for a large proportion of
its income, while not far behind are its cable systems,
entertainment, films, video and television holdings. But,
the company has also centred its resources and invested in
the global media, producing programmes and channels for
countries around the world, which in turn has proven to be
a very lucrative area of growth. Time Warner in general
has become a ?major force in virtually every medium and on
every continent?
So then, why should a company like Time Warner be a threat
to the public, and something which all of us citizens
around the World should be aware of ? Isn't Time Warner
just a success of capitalism ? A successful company, which
employs thousands of people and makes massive turnovers,
while at the same time advancing the cause of the global
market and promoting commercialism doesn't seem like a
thing of public concern. In the World village today, why
should we need thousand's upon thousand's of small
independent company's and tv stations and newspaper's, when
we could have ten large conglomerates who would control
everything from production to sales to distribution ? The
way in which thing's have developed over the past ten
years, that scenario or fiction might even become fact or
reality. So why should it bother the people of the World
To begin answering that question, we need to go back a
hundred years or so and look at the work of Karl Marx and
his interpretations of 'socio-economic order produced by
industrial capitalism? . Marx believed that the unequal
distribution of wealth and the way in which the capitalist
class controlled this wealth through the possession of raw
materials, means of distribution and labour, enabled them
to make huge profits and further their interests. This in
turn control over production consolidated their position as
the dominant class. As Marx saw it ?'the owners of the new
communication companies were members of the general
capitalist class and they used their control over cultural
production to ensure that the dominant images and
representations supported the existing social
arrangements?? He proved his point at the height of the
American Civil War, when he pointed out the connection
between the British newspapers insistence on supporting the
South and the government in power. Marx realised that
there was profit to be made for the ruling class that owned
many of the leading newspapers and in the interests of the
Prime Minister as well.
So what does ownership of the means of cultural production
have to do with concentration, oligopoly and vertical
integration ? In the process of answering that question,
we need to look at the terms involved. To maximise a
company profits the same company has to maximise its reach
with the public. So, instead of owning only the sales of a
product, the company owns the production and distribution
of that same product. To make it more simple, instead of
owning just a film, the media company owns the studio in
which the film was shot, the cinemas where people can go
and see the movie, the stores where people can go and rent
the movie, the record company which releases the soundtrack
and the stores which sell them, and the company which
produces all the essential memorabilia (such as T-shirts,
coffee mugs, calendars?). The list does not stop at
movies. Ownership can cover more important fields of
cultural production like newspapers, TV stations, satellite
and digital broadcasters, book publishers? etc. That
process is known as vertical integration. Monopoly is when
there is only one company that owns all the means and
oligopoly is when there are only a few companies that
compete between each other, squeezing out all other
potential competition. By explaining these terms we can
now go back to the point of ownership and who controls the
media and what that essentially means for the public.
During the 1980s in the USA pressure from the government,
the World Bank and the IMF to deregulate and privatise
media and communication systems resulted in the rise of
oligopolys . The price the American public is paying now
is a media system spinning out of control in a hyper-
commercialised frenzy. Everything from sports to arts to
entertainment and children programmes is turning to full-
scale commercialisation, with every aspect of human life
carpetbombed. Breakfast talk shows, sitcoms and feature
films are ?in?, while Classical concerts documentaries and
educational programmes are ?out?. On one hand there are
the ?critics of the critics? who insist that ultimately the
audiences are the ones who decide what is shown on
commercial television. On the other hand there are the
critics who insist that powerful economic and political
interests use television as an instrument of control. Let
me elaborate.
As the competition grew stronger on the American media
market, the result was only a few media companies owning
all them means of cultural capitol. In the process, the
usual democratic expectation for the media, diversity and
ownership and ideas, disappeared as the goal of official
policy, and worse, as ...

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