The Impact of Media Ownership on Marketing and Content Strategies

Media ownership is a topic of interest in journalism study since it is established that ownership has an influence on the content and practises of journalism. Information, like money and authority, is now referred to as “power.” Companies that control the information that is broadcast to the public are increasingly considered as powerful forces in shaping public opinion. Many people pay attention to mass media organisations because they are the “fourth power” in society. Studies have been conducted on media ownership and its implications on many areas of media performance. Many academics are interested in this issue because of the importance of mass media in society’s social life and its power to influence public opinion.

The key to recognising the presence of a given sort of content within an organisation is to look at organisational characteristics. At this stage, decisions are taken on target audiences and content types. The consequences of ownership on serving the public interest are part of a larger subject of how ownership affects content in the media. There have been a lot of studies that have been able to ascertain who owns media. 

A study of the effects of foreign ownership on content by Hollifield (1999) found significant differences between domestically-owned and internationally-owned newspapers in the coverage of local stories. Control for circulation size and size of newspapers did not diminish these differences. Some research looked at the influence of newspaper ownership and size on space and content allocation for various types of content. Lacy (1991) discovered that ownership had little impact on how news was distributed. When compared to individually owned newspapers, group-owned newspapers featured fewer articles and more space and stories devoted to editorial and op-ed material.

In marketing, customers want to consume, engage with, and share brands’ content. Brands can accomplish the three goals of engagement, efficiency, and scalability by planning and evaluating audience interaction with the same commercial acumen as any publisher. If the ownership of these brands is dominated by person A, then the marketing will be done keeping the personal benefits in mind. For instance: brand messaging, content, tonality, opinions, etc. A brand has the power to persuade just like any media, therefore, people who own them share the privileges.

Hence, media ownership impacts the content strategy and marketing to a large extent. Especially in the current scenario, where media is mostly owned by powerful people who have been directly or indirectly involved in politics. 


How the media has been used or misused in politics in India and Worldwide?

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Media helps people formulate an opinion based on the facts provided. Therefore, one of the most important elements of news is objectivity. No matter what the news is, the media cannot support or go against a specific issue. India specifically is a country of free press and judiciary, therefore, people rely on news, and it is considered to be the fourth pillar of the Constitution. 

The basic freedom to seek and communicate knowledge through independent media is under threat. Many elected officials in democracies have made clear attempts to restrict critical media voices and bolster outlets that provide favourable coverage, despite the fact that they should be the staunchest advocates of press freedom. All of this external pressure from various political lineage has made media week. 

A lot of media organisations, in India and abroad, have investments from political parties either directly or indirectly. They depend on these power-holders for monetary support, therefore, they cannot report anything against them. This heavily affects the reporting. News organisations especially are always under loss, the only way to save the business is through investments. 

Since media helps in shaping opinions, it is extremely dangerous for journalists to report on issues that will not benefit the ‘creamy layer of society’. The consequence of reporting can be extremely dangerous. Hence, journalists should be extremely mindful while reporting, especially it has anything to do with national security. 

Impact of Coronavirus on Advertising Industry

Coronavirus has impacted each and every industry. However, there were arguments that the travel and tourism industry incurred the most amount of loss. This, no matter how true, can be argued. Advertising, an industry that connects every other industry, has had to bring major changes in its functioning. Because of the situation, the demand from the clients was unlike ever before, and so was the challenge to help them make a profit in a global pandemic. Wandering how and what went down? So was I. 

According to a report published by Aprais, “ 35% of global clients contacted their agencies every day during this period, up from 21% in the first quarter of 2020. Likewise, the number of agencies that contacted clients every day throughout that six months rose to more than half (51%), compared to 31% prior.”  Due to this, the working hours increased, but the profit either remained the same or went down. Hence, the work-life balance was compromised. 

Most ad campaigns were also performed via digital mediums, to cut down the cost, or to target their niche audience directly. Hence, advertisers had to constantly try and be ahead of the game during the pandemic.

Since the whole industry was in a race, so were the operators, owners and audiences. The pandemic forced everyone to work from home, so reaching out to the consumers directly not just required a lot of effort from the operators and owners who had to come up with innovative products, and techniques to be able to persuade the desired group of audiences. 

On the other hand, audiences had shifted to buying everything online. The sudden surge in options, however, might have confused them. Convenience was preferred, and people did not want to compromise on taste or quality. While ad spending was down globally, consumers were watching more ads every day. How? Digital media. The same product was served by innumerable brands. The only difference that made the product preferred by the consumer was their distinct way of reaching out and messaging. Hence, the advertising industry during Covid 19 was affected, and all of its stakeholders had to bear the consequences in one way or another. 

Communication to me is…

Communication means different to different people. Usually, I prefer talking on the phone or video, instead of texting. I feel directly communicating, or talking on the phone eliminates the chances of having confusion. Besides, words/ emoji mean different things to different people, but when you are talking on phone or via video you get an idea of what the person means to say. Recently, I have realized that professionally people prefer talking about everything on email, even if it has been spoken on phone. This is to keep a track of every conversation, for reference. 

With my friends, I usually prefer talking on the phone or video call (WhatsApp video calls). It feels more personal and comforting. However, we do send texts on a regular basis or engage in small talk too.   

The line between different forms of communication is blurring. Initially, I used to never even think about texting a professor or a senior professional. Now, it seems easier to just ask whatever I have in mind via text. I think how we communicate has a lot to do with our perception of things. I might get hesitant to text Person A today, and prefer a Google meet, but a week later we might start communicating via text. Similarly, these social media giants have also marketed themselves in ways that people use them for what they are created, for instance: LinkedIn for Professional purposes, Twitter for putting out your opinion via text, and Instagram for pictures. 

Recently, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp went down for about 5 hrs. While everyone was constantly making memes on Twitter, I had no idea about the situation. As soon as I realized, I kept my phone aside and went on doing things I usually do. Like every other Gen Z, I love social media too. I believe it really helps us reach out and communicate to a lot of people we wouldn’t have met in real. However, I am absolutely okay with it not working for a few days. Yes, I might miss it sometimes, but I think it’s okay to feel the void for things you have been using for as long as you can remember. 

I am sure a lot of people find it difficult to not use social media. The documentary, Social Dilemma brings into light how platforms like Instagram constantly demand our attention and show us content that we cannot ignore. Therefore, a lot of times while communicating we also engage with content that may get us addicted to the platform. However, keeping yourself engaged doing activities you like and enjoy, and maintaining a healthy balance is often found helpful.

Can personality or behaviour define your success/failure?

Personality and behaviour define an individual’s success and behaviour not just in corporate life but also in general. How we behave is directly proportional to what we should expect people around us to behave with us. No matter how big or small the organization is, it is defined by its values.

In the movie ‘Catch me if you can’, which is based on real life story of Frank Abagnale. Frank was a con artist, who had great knowledge about banking system and check frauds. He used this to get money illegally. He knew he cannot depend on this forever, but he didn’t know when and how to stop. When he gets caught, he is offered a position at FBI to help them with cash and bank frauds. He takes it up, and is still working for them.

The movie is a cinematic representation and is not entirely true. However, the behaviour of the character Frank had a lot of layers. We saw him as a teen, and a grown up. The only reason he was trusted by the FBI officer was his behaviour. He realised that Frank might have made wrong choices, but he is not a bad person.

Although personality is different for different people. It might be different at different situations too. For instance, I might be surprised for a news and angry for another. Situations define personality and behaviour. However, being honest about our feelings and emotions is another way that might help. One must never try to imitate others. In the movie the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan tries to be like his superiors. He doesn’t realise that his personality is different and he must not try to be like someone else, instead be a better version of himself.

Personality and behaviour can definitely define success and failure. If we are hardworking and honest, it would definitely be something that would help us in our professional space. For people who have required skills, knowledge and expertise, their personality can make them successful or lead to failure.

How Emotions Influence Our Choices

There’s no point in being nuts if you can’t have some fun with it.

A Beautiful Mind
Source – Unsplash

Mind is a beautiful space and what makes it even more beautiful are the emotions. In life, we often find ourselves feeling unsaid or unheard emotions. You never feel completely sad, or completely angry. It is ALWAYS a combination of multiple emotions that we feel.

It is said that every individual is different, but one thing that makes us all similar is our emotions. There is no such thing as ‘too much feeling’, feelings depends on the situation. However, how we react or how our decisions/choices impact our emotions is different for each one of us. For instance, person A might be very optimistic in life, therefore, a minor loss at a local tournament will not affect her. However, X might be playing that tournament for the prize money that he needs for an important cause, and if he loses it might make him sad, angry or even insecure.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch Duel and A Beautiful Mind. Both these movies have very different screenplay, but emotions are what connects them. Duel is a movie that depicts the state of mind of a person being chased by a stranger. Initially, he thought of it as a fun banter that he can laugh off, only to realize that it wasn’t what he thinks it was. The moment he realizes that a stranger is after his life, he tries to run and was angry too. When the same truck harmed him intending to kill him, he was petrified. He tried to find a reasonable solution by calling the police but to no aid. Ultimately, he had to let go of his fear and think rationally. Only then was he able to save his life.

A Beautiful Mind is about a Mathematical genius who had to fight his imagination. Suffering from Schizophrenia, made life extremely difficult for Nash. He thought that he was receiving messages from Russia via The New York Times. His visions were scary for him, but people around started to think of him as just another crazy guy. Just like in Duel, when David says to people that somebody is trying to kill him, everyone thinks he is mad. Feelings are personal, and you cannot ignore them; you begin to understand only when you feel them.

People often get confused between emotions and mood. While the mood is temporary, it can be a driving factor for emotions. For example, if X is in a happy mood, she is most likely to react positively towards most things. Everyone feels emotions, not feeling anything is an emotion too. While mood keeps on changing, your emotion towards a particular subject can be the same forever.

State of mind drives every action of our lives, from personal to professional. A business organization that has a ‘profit-making approach, might not look into the minor errors or issues from their end. However, an organization with strong ethics will never overlook an error. These approaches are also decided by the leader, whose state of mind impacts these decisions.

It might be difficult to express what you feel at times, but every emotion is unique and how we choose to express them is what defines us.

Role of Business Ethics

In layman terms, business ethics is the standard of moral conduct in an organization.

In an organization, the most simplest thing can reflect the ethics it is based on. For example, the employee-boss relationship, or something as important as the main objective. For a company, the main goal of which is to earn profit, will have a different business ethic, and they would follow the modern approach. However, if a company wants to make an impact and create value, the ethic of such organization would be entirely different from the competitors, and their approach might be traditional too.

Business ethic is established by the founder. However, the ethic of an organization might not remain same throughout. Every leader who takes charge of the said organization brings in some additional changes that either works in favor or against it. It takes a lot of effort, coordination and experience to communicate the ethics with the employees and making sure they are on the same page too.

If a company manages to maintain a good reputation both in and out of the organization, then the ethics of it are known by all. For instance, think of any company that is famous, and that everyone knows of. It can be a company that has been in the news for making loss, or can be a start-up that has gained immense consumers. If you look at their approach towards the consumers, and society in general, it wouldn’t be hard to break down the business ethic model it works on.

A business ethic is often misunderstood with law and order. While ethic is something that every person follows out of mutual respect for the company, law and order might be forced upon or can be made mandatory without the willingness of the employees. Law and order saves a company from any financial or legal problems, but ethics acts as a backbone in every situation.

Now you must be thinking, as to why is this important and what is in it for the organization? Well, in this world of competition, your business ethic sets you apart. Why do you buy A and not B, when the pricing and the products are similar? This is because of the ethics that the brand follows, and that goes well with your ideologies. A good and transparent business ethics is not as easy to maintain as is sounds like. However, it is one of the most influential factor for any consumer.

What role does a founder play in an organization?

No matter how big or small your company is, the values inherited by the founder defines it. The approach, and the vision of the founder is what drives the narrative of a company. For instance, if we talk about Amazon, the Consumer obsessive approach of Jeff Bezos is what has inspired the brand to be what it is today. Had it not been his vision, Amazon would not have come up with features such as prime delivery that focuses on customer to the extent that it promises them to deliver the products in a day. Although there have been instances where employees have felt that this approach is not right due to various reasons, it has worked massively for the company. In todays day, there is not one thing you can think of that is not on Amazon; everyone knows about it.

For a company, the initial stage is of utmost importance. It is what allows the founder the time so he can truly shape the values. During the later stage, as the company grows, it is those value that might make it stand apart. If he/she is unable to incorporate that individuality, the company is left with nothing that differentiates it from the ocean of competitors.

Source – Unsplash

This might seem a little theoretical, but there is an easy way to understand all this. Think of a company that has become very successful in a global scale and that everyone knows of. Now, look at its past record, and analyze, on doing so you will realize how and what strategies have helped the company grow. If you look a little deeper, and research on the founder, his/her background and the kind of culture they come from, you would understand the whole concept. It is really very insightful and interesting to know and learn how psychology, sociology and values of an individual can play such a large role.

The values can broadly be classified into traditional and modern approach. In case of traditional approach, the main goal is not to earn profit but to truly create an organization that benefits the society and provides a deeper meaning. The modern one on the contrary, has more of a competitive and profit-making motive. Both these approach has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Tata group follows a traditional approach. They have not only made a mark locally but also on a global level. People look up to their values and try to incorporate them. The organization has worked immensely and is also making profits. The founder of the Tata group, Jamsetji Tata, died in 1904 but his values are still in place. The company aims to follow the same values till forever. Reliance Industries, founded by Dhirubhai Ambani follows a modern approach. Their vision of creation and becoming the best has worked well for the company, and put it on the global map.

The approach you prefer might be different from somebody else, but how you implement it is what matters. Like I said, both has advantages and disadvantages, but the approach should be positive and focus should be on consumers.

The challenges of working in a multi-cultural group

Leading requires skill as well as a good understanding of people and culture. Becoming a leader does not mean that you have the ‘power’ but it means that you are the one ‘responsible’ for everything. Working in a multi-cultural team will require the leader to be understanding and broad minded. He/She should be open to ideas that might challenge their cultural believes if it works with the objective of the team.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to work in a multi-cultural team. Becoming a part of one such group was overwhelming at first, but looking at everyone around I soon understood that I should focus on the work rather than think about our differences. It is very easy to be intimidated, but in such circumstances holding your ground and building your self-confidence will make things a lot easier.

Here are a few challenges I faced, and the lessons I learnt through them, while working in a multi-cultural environment:

  • Making my voice heard – Initially a few of us faced a little difficulty while communicating our ideas. This was not because we weren’t able to, but because either we were intimidated, unsure or unheard. Gradually we realized the need for us to speak up. Once I started talking, I was not only heard but also appreciated, this gave me immense confidence and willingness to work even harder.
  • Taking Criticism – I was working as one of the team leaders, and was giving my best. But different countries have different ways of working, and a few people questioned us when they thought we were not working hard enough. After hearing that, instead of getting demotivated we decided to work around and talk to everyone. Keeping an open line of communication will eliminate all forms of confusion and answer whatever doubts anybody had. However, taking criticism does not mean you would not speak even if you are right. There were times I was questioned even if I was doing the right thing, I decided to take a stand for myself and not keep quiet. Communication should always be used in the best possible way and everyone should be treated equally. Especially in a multi-cultural setting, a few people might inherit ‘domination’ as a cultural trait, I learnt to question and be questioned in everyone situation.
  • Team comes first – No matter how big or small the project is, the team always comes first. Whatever we decide should be directly in alliance with the organizations objectives. It does not matter if I do not like the idea, what matters is that if that would work for the team and the company/project. I might be a leader or not, my enthusiasm towards the project should never go down.

There were other problems as well, but these three were instances where I learnt the most. Learning in a multi-cultural setting changed my perspective about a lot of cultures. This experience was very different from what I had envisioned it to be, but it was the most I had learnt in such a small duration of time.

Who is a true leader?

Source – Unsplash

Whenever we talk about a ‘leader’, we often think of someone who is powerful and strong. The entire concept of leadership, is often confused with dominance. Being dominant means imposing your command on everyone else, being a leader gives you an influential edge over people who choose to listen and follow your instruction. The more we think, the easier it gets. A leader is not someone exclusive, if we look around we can find numerous leaders around us all the time.

We all are leaders, but we do not use ‘leadership’ quality everywhere. It depends on the area of expertise, and who we are with. For instance, a student is not the leader of school, but he/she might be a leader of a smaller group.

The concept of leadership is very broad, therefore, I decided to watch two movies in order to understand it better: A few Good Men, and Guru. Although both the films have an extremely different culture and environment, one factor that is common is the ‘leadership’ factor. A Few Good Men is a courtroom drama revolving around the mysterious death of a soldier. The entire film revolves around the concept of how we must not always go ‘by the books’ and ‘follow’ the leader. However, Guru which is based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani was more about inspiring people, and building your self confidence in a way that people around you respect you. While the setting of the former is military and armed forces, the latter is set in a corporate environment.

Apart from leadership, another interesting thing that I noted being common in both these spheres are the challenges women face. Sadly, even now the count of women at top is not equal to men. Although it has improved a lot since the past decade, women still have to go through a lot. It is known that they are not considered to be equally talented or goal oriented, but even after proving themselves with their hard work and strong will-power, they are still looked down. In the movie A Few Good Men, we see how they not only have to try a lot more than their colleagues, but are also more subjected to sexist comments. This takes a toll on the mental health, and takes us ten steps back when we are still struggling to move a step forward.

A lot of people argue that films are fictional and we must not believe in them entirely. While I completely agree to this, there are a lot of women who have spoken up about gender discriminations they have faced while at the top. Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo CEO, who is also one of the most successful CEOs in the world, spoke how women have to multi-task and balance everything, but that never stops them from doing what they like to do.

Leadership has no limitations or boundaries. Anyone can become a leader, and everyone is a leader.