Topics: Mass media, Advertising, Newspaper Pages: 7 (2987 words) Published: March 10, 2013
In his book entitled The New Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian talks about the undeniable role that advertising plays in media. He identifies media conglomerates as well as commercial conglomerates such as New York Herald, New York Times, Reader's Digest, Procter and Gamble, and Revlon. He sets up the connection between money spent on advertising annually and money paid to have control over content surrounding ads bought under certain media titles. He identifies the difference in sales of advertising between newspapers and magazines, identifying that 50% of magazine content was at one time comprised entirely of advertising pages (Bagdikian, The New Media Monopoly, 2004). With this he underlies his major point that media advertising has always served first the individual companies, and second, the people. His major point dealing with this comes in the quote found on page 249: "Given the eagerness with which newspapers protect major advertisers, it is understandable that by now advertisers expect that when the interests of readers are in competition with the interests of advertisers, the newspapers will protect the advertisers". Immediately preceding this quote was a paragraph describing an incident in which price checks and comparative shopping had been a feature once offered in newspapers in America. During a time a massive inflation in the 1970's, this feature all but disappeared when it was "one of the most compelling needs for readers". The reason for the disappearance is described by Bagdikian as the reality that advertisers feed the mouth of media conglomerates, and the newspaper industry is not wishing to starve anytime soon. Newspapers cut this feature because grocery store advertisers did not like it, and the fact that the American people felt quite the opposite came secondary to their opposition. In the first few pages of chapter 12, Bagdikian sets up the stage with some of the first incidents where advertisers weaseled their foot in the door of newspaper and magazine corporations. The New York Herald was in a position of hurt after a fire had destroyed their building and the financial backing to start back up again was offered by a man who manufactured pills and wanted a place to advertise his product. By buying the "new start" of the newspaper, Doctor Brandreth bought full rights to his ads appearing larger and more frequently than any other product featured in its pages. Only when other pill manufacturers were willing to compete, by paying as much or more to advertise as Brandreth did, was this "ownership" challenged. Another thing Bagdikian highlights in this chapter is the lack of competition created by larger companies, or larger areas of a conglomerate, that allow no room for a smaller entity to compete or survive if they are opposed. Bagdikian points out that some times it is the smaller pieces of a conglomerates own entity that gets sacrificed to save a larger part. This example is found on page 244 where Bagdikian gives the example of Esquire "killing" Ken, a magazine that dealt with liberal views and ideals. Ken was sacrificed to save Esquire who was being threatened of loosing its advertising benefactors if Ken was not killed. Ken, apart from the opposition of advertising gooroos, had met its circulation plans and would have been able to create enough of an audience to be successful as a publication. Bagdikian spends a large part of chapter 12 talking about the previous ownership of entire broadcasts and programs by one product manufacturer. He gives a list on the bottom of page 241 of about 10 different "theaters" or "hours" in which a company such as Revlon or U.S. Steel would create drama hours. The entire program was known as "Revlon Theater" in which the audience was constantly reminded of the products offered by this manufacturer. Along the same lines as this was the discussion of certain guidelines placed on media conglomerates by the companies advertising regarding the content that would be...
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