Who Owns Your Media?

Gina Rinehart, Kerry Stokes, Bruce Gordon and Rupert Murdoch. All of these names probably sound familiar to you, well that’s because these four people are the major owners of your all the media you consume.

It’s crazy isn’t it that these four people have so much power over the media. At this point, Australia has the highest concentration of media ownership in the developed world. Most younger people, like myself, don’t have a very large interest in the media ownership. You’ll find that we know that Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook or Jack Dorsey owns Twitter but most wouldn’t know that Rupert Murdoch owns 8 out of 12 major newspapers though News Corp Australia (formally News Limited).

Gina Rinehart, you might know about her from the recent mini-series that aired on Channel 9 this year called ‘House of Hancock’. After her father died she became the chairman of Hancock Prospecting an Australian Mining exploration and extraction company. She later become a player in the media industry, no longer limiting herself to the mining business. As of 2010 she has a 10% share in Ten Network Holdings and has 18.67% of shares in Fairfax Media making her the largest shareholder in the company.

Fairfax Media is one of Australia’s largest media companies, owning 3 of the 12 major newspapers as well as others, magazines, radio and digital media including The Sydney Morning Herald, online real-estate site domain and in 2014 entered into a joint venture partnership with Nine Entertainment Co.

Kerry Stokes has shares in a diverse range of industries including electronic and print media, property and mining but is most well known for being the chairman of Seven West Media, owning about 43% of shares. Seven West media owns the following:

Bruce Gordon owns and controls WIN Television which reaches more than 5 million across Australia and is also the a 10% shareholder in Ten Network Holdings.

Channel 10 (Ten Network Holdings) is owned by many of the biggest media owners in Australia. James Packer is the largest shareholder with 18% and Bruce Gordon and Gina Rinehart both have 10% each. Ten Network Holdings owns the following:

  • Network 10 – ATV Melbourne, TEN Sydney, TVQ Queensland, ADS Adalaide, NEW Perth
  • ONE
  • ELEVENCo (66.6%)
  • SpreeTV

Lastly there’s Rupert Murdoch he is chairman and CEO of News Corporation the worlds second largest media conglomerate, its successor News Corp and 21st Century Fox after the conglomerate split in 2013. News Corp also owns a 66.87% share of The Brisbane Broncos NRL Team

Some of News Corp hundreds of assets include:

  • Magazines: GQ Australia, Masterchef Magazine, Vogue Magazine
  • Television: Foxtel
  • Newspapers: The Sun(UK), The Daily/Sunday Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal and New York Post (USA)
  • HarperCollins (book publishing)

Some of 21st Century Fox assets include:

  • Fox Entertainment (film)
  • Fox News (television)
  • National Geographic Channels (television)
  • 31% share in Hulu (online streaming)

In case all this confused you because it definitely confused me at first too, here is the helpful video watched in the lecture that explained who owned what in Australian Media.

Semiotics

Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols that originates in linguistics. Signs can be read in many different ways and everyone interprets these signs differently based on their ideological positions. So to put it simply:

  • The sign conveys meaning
  • The signifier is the thing that gives meaning and is also known as denotation
  • The signified is what you make of it in your mind and is also known as connotation

This video taken from ‘The Big Bang Theory is being used a lot for this weeks topic but it is an excellent example of what semiotics is and also helps to explain it a bit more:

This picture taken by Tom Hussey is just one picture from his collection titled ‘Mirrors’.

How we were: An elderly woman clutches a comb for her white hair while the dark-haired reflection of a young school teacher, a notebook and red apple in her arms, reflects back in her mirror

Photo Credit to Tom Hussey

During my first glance at this picture without knowing any background information, I saw what I thought was simply just an elderly woman looking into a mirror and seeing her past life, a younger self, remembering what used to be, therefore the signifier would be the elderly woman’s reflection and the signified would be the conclusion I made from simply looking at the picture.

The truth of this photo is, that it is one of many in Tom Hussey’s collection of photographs with the underlying message of the effects on individuals whom suffer from the debilitating disease, Alzheimer’s which gradually takes a victims newer memories only leaving them with the ones from their youth. In this particular photo the woman still believes she is a young teacher therefore when she looks into her mirror that is what she sees, not the elderly woman she has become. Hussey got the idea for these photographs from a war veteran whom expressed his disbelief in his actual age “he didn’t understand how he could be 80 years old as he felt he was still a young man”.This picture is an example of how signs and symbols are used in photographs to help read the picture in more ways than one.

Yesterday I Watched A Violent Movie & Now I Want To Punch People.

Please note my extreme sarcasm in my title, I assure you I do not want to punch anyone, but it is an increasing anxiety for society that with exposure to violent video games, movies and television people are becoming more and more violent and aggressive.

This anxiety is particularly pressing with children, society is afraid that too much violent media can lead to the learning of aggression. Alfred Bandura conducted a “bobo doll” experiment to show that children could in fact learn aggression. Children participating in the experiment were told to watch a short video documenting a woman hitting a bobo doll, they were then placed in a room with a doll and left and of course they also began to hit the bobo doll because that is what the dolls are designed for.

In 2014 a teenager said to be ‘obsessed’ with the show ‘Dexter’ was jailed for killing his girlfriend. During this case the court was told that the teen, Steven Miles, had a fascination with horror films. He was also diagnosed with Autism and had told his family he had an alter ego called ‘Ed’ whom told him to kill someone. Psychiatrists agreed he was not psychotic but the reason behind ‘Ed’ was never discovered.

It has been shown that children to not become violent because of the things they watch or the games they play but usually because of family dysfunction, a parents marital breakdown, neglect or bullying from their family.

Society is also worried violent media will affect the entire population, In 2013 actor Jim Carrey distanced himself from film ‘Kick-Ass 2’ because in the wake of the ‘Sandy Hook Shootings‘, he could not support the large number of graphically violent scenes. Mark Millar, creator of ‘Kick Ass’ comic books responded saying “I’ve never quite brought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life” he insists the movie focuses on the consequence of violence rather than the violence itself. Actress Chloe Moretz also commented “It’s a movie. If you are going to believe and be affected by an action film, you shouldn’t go to see Pocahontas because you are going to think you are a Disney princess. If you are that easily swayed, you might see The Silence of the Lambs and think you are a serial killer. It’s a movie and it’s fake, and I’ve known that since I was a kid … I don’t want to run around trying to kill people and cuss (in real life). If anything, these movies teach you what not to do.” 

Obviously the media has an affect on us but it is up to us to decide how we handle it in our lives. Millions of people view violence in the media, it is entertainment or it is news, viewers do not consider to re-enact what they see. These violent tendencies reside within the personality of an individual, weather they watch violent media or not.