Within the current media landscape, it is no longer a question of “who owns the media?” but rather “who owns you?”. The legacy media sphere in Australia is one of the most highly concentrated in the world; meaning large portions of the media are owned and controlled by single media entities e.g. Newscorp, owned by the Murdoch conglomerate, who also has shares in pay-tv giant Foxtel.
Under current Australian law:
- Individual media stakeholders are restricted from broadcasting to more than 75% of the total population, and;
- Are unable to hold a dominating interest in more than two facets of media – television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, or newspaper publishing, within the same region.
These laws attempt to reduce the ability for the ideology of a singular media entity to greatly influence that of their audience. However, as the legacy media sphere begins to converge with that of the ever-expanding digital landscape, these laws seemingly fade into the background.
“But why are legacy media groups merging into the digital landscape?”
Because that is where the audience is.
Social media platforms, as well as purely online versions of legacy media outlets, have become the best location to reach a more extensive and receptive audience. Similarly, these platforms have created a stage for the modern ‘produser‘ to present their own content to the same audience. In a way, we are now living in a world where the content of a large media outlet such as The New York Times, and that of ‘just another student blogger’, hold equal value in the eyes of the ‘audience’ – if anyone can actually still be referred to as a mere ‘audience member’.
However, now that this content has moved to a predominantly digital location, focus regarding ownership moves to the key players of the online media industry. It is their ability to coerce you to provide personal information that in the long run, benefits no one but the media platform itself.
Do your friends care that you, as a teenage girl, ‘like Bondi Sands: Ultra Dark‘? – No, but the people who produce the product sure do.
It is this information that media platforms can then sell to third-parties in order to further enhance their marketing campaigns or the products themselves. This raises the concern of trust; who can you really trust within this digital world, and is:
“Thanks for signing up to ________________”
“The_Media started following you”