The consolidation of media is best explained through, if not the largest media conglomerate in the world perhaps the most influential: Disney. While of course having control of their own in house studios such as Disney Animation and their massive backlog of intellectual properties, the Mouse is also the parent company to both Marvel Entertainment and Lucas Films, two of the most lucrative film studios on the planet, ESPN Vice, Pixar, etc. On top of that they also own ABC and all the subsidiaries that belong to the network. This makes Disney a prime example of how individual media outlets get acquired until just about everything is owned by a handful of parent corporations.
Disney is perhaps the most extreme example but there maybe 5 other companies that are just as prolific, such as NewsCorp, NBC Universal, Viacom, etc. On the bright side however, some media companies are aware of the type of content consumers are looking for, so they’ve begun looking to distribute more independent films which led to Netflix and Amazon to having perhaps the largest influence at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Both these streaming services are acutely aware of the type of content their subscribers are looking for which is why they’re taking a close look at more independent films and producing more diverse content themselves.
When looking at media conglomeration it’s easy to talk about the negative and solely look at how a select few can make decisions that affect millions of people around the world. But it’s important to note that we’re currently in what’s called The Golden Age of Television. So, is it possible that while going through this period of extreme media conglomeration we’re getting some of the best media we’ve had in decades if not ever? As everything always does, I personally think it comes down to money. Netflix, HBO, AMC, Showtime, Amazon, these content producers (some of which are owned by the big media conglomerates) are aware of the type of content that people are watching and more importantly will watch. It’s possible that we’re going through a Golden Age of Television because that’s what consumers are currently asking for which is why the media conglomerates are on board with producing such great content.