Muhammad Kamal bin Ismail
CONCENTRATION OF OWNERSHIP AND CONGLOMERATION AFFECTING
MEDIA PLURALISM AND MEDIA ECONOMCS IN MALAYSIA.
Media ownership occurs mostly in developed countries around the world,
whereby lesser individuals or organizations regulate the shares of the mass media
(McEwan, 2007). The concentration of media ownership and conglomeration has
said to alter the truthfulness of media delivering information to people. In the United
States, there are eight major corporations that controls the broadcast and cable
networks (Steiner, 2015). Among the corporations are News Corporation, The Walt
Disney Company, National Amusements, Comcast, Time ...view middle of the document...
Media economics refers to
every activities in terms of business and finance of organisations in producing and
selling output through the diversity of media industries (Alexander, Owers, Carveth,
Hollifield, & Greco, 2004).
“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the
press will never be anything but bad.”
- Albert Camus, Nobel Prize-winning Author and Philosopher.
The above quote is perfect in explaining the current situation of today’s media
scenario. The concentration of media ownership and conglomeration has created
media uniformity and less media players, resulting in biasness towards certain
parties, and this situation also occurs in democratic countries such as Malaysia.
In Malaysia, the media conglomeration is not as big as in the United States.
Mainstream media in Malaysia are mostly owned by the government or the
component parties of the Barisan Nasional. Malaysian television viewing options
include government owned free-to-air television channel (Radio-Television Malaysia
(RTM) and Media Prima), privately owned stations (Astro All Asia Networks), Internet
Protocol Television (IPTV) (HyppTV by UniFi), and cable television provider (Asian
Broadcasting Network (ABNXcess)) (Sani, 2014).
Media Prima Berhad is the largest private media conglomerate in Malaysia.
Founded in 2003, Media Prima is a home for four free-to-air television channels that
includes TV3 (Malay & English languages), NTV7 (Malay, English & Chinese
languages), 8TV (English & Chinese languages), and TV9 (Malay language). As for
the radio, Media Prima controls Hot fm (Malay language), Fly fm (English language),
and One fm (Chinese language), while New Straits Time (English language), Berita
Harian (Malay language), and Harian Metro (Malay language) are the presses under
the company. The company also has its own productions and distribution studios that
consist of Primeworks Studios, 8unit, Monkey Bone, and Grand Brilliance. As for outof-home advertising, Media Prima is the home for the famous Big Tree, Kurnia
Outdoor, UPD, The Right Channel (TRC), and Gotcha. Not to forget, the company
also has its own digital platforms, which includes Media Prima Digital, Gua, Tonton,
and Seroja (The Group, 2014). Media Prima has the largest number of viewership,
with 54% of Malaysia television viewership and governing 29% of the market share
The political parties and their investment companies control the major media in
Malaysia (Munsuet, 2008). For example, Media Prima is owned by the United Malays
Muhammad Kamal bin Ismail
National Organisation (UMNO), Utusan Malaysia is also owned by UMNO, and Star
Publication is owned by MCA (Johnson & Mitton, 2002). The concentration of media
ownership and conglomeration, however, has been debated to affect the media
pluralism and media economics of a country, including Malaysia.
The concentration of ownership and...