Corporations and Cultural Industries

Corporations and Cultural Industries : Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and News Corporation

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Corporations and Cultural Industries: Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and News Corporation, by Scott Warren Fitzgerald, fills an important neglected area in communication and media studies through its sustained, theoretically grounded, and empirically rich analysis of three of the most important global media conglomerates of our time: Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and News Corp. The book examines how financialization processes regear the internal operations of media corporations in a manner that pits one sector against another.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 486 pages
  • 153 x 224 x 34mm | 699g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739144049
  • 9780739144046

Table of contents

List of Tables List of Figures List of Acronyms and Abbreviations Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter One: Cultural Corporations and Capitalist Imperatives Chapter Two: Corporate Strategy and Structure in an Age of 'Paranational Hypercapitalism' Chapter Three: Global Media, Regulation and the State Chapter Four: Time Warner Chapter Five: Bertelsmann Chapter Six: News Corporation Conclusion List of References Endnotes Index
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Review quote

This rather lengthy examination of the consolidation in the media industry begins with the development of a theoretical model drawing from various disciplines including political economy, sociology, economics, and business. One of the author's stated purposes is to consider the inter-firm competition that leads to amalgamation across various media along with the intra-firm competition that emerges as distinct media are brought under one organization's control. Fitzgerald (Curtin Univ., Australia) points out that over several decades globalization has enhanced incentives to consolidate media, and has led to a media labor force in tension with a capitalist class engaged in global financialization and pursuit of profit. To underscore this internationalization, Fitzgerald focuses on case studies of three media conglomerates in the last half of the book: American Time Warner, German Bertelsmann, and migrating News Corporation. The volume is heavily notated and contains numerous tables and figures, but it is heavy reading and not for the novice. Of particular value to those interested in the political economy of media. Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE The last three decades have seen governments around the world pursue policies designed to extend the scope of market activity and grant corporations greater operational freedom. The leading communications companies have been major beneficiaries, seizing every opportunity to move into new sectors and expand their geographical scope. As a result, control over the core components of public culture has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a diminishing number of global, multi-media conglomerates whose owners are regular fixtures in the list of the world's most wealthy. The ascendancy of neoliberal economic policies has allowed a handful of cultural industry capitals to amass extraordinary power to control their environment and has strengthened the class power of business elites. Fitzgerald's analysis of this process has two great merits. First, whereas most accounts present it as both relentless and unstoppable, he highlights the tensions and contradictions it generates. Second, rather than pursuing the well-worn path of delineating general processes, illustrated with selective data and examples, he grounds his analysis in a meticulously detailed comparison of how three of the biggest and most influential media conglomerates - Time Warner, News Corporation and Bertelsmann - have negotiated the shifting terrain opened up by neoliberal policies and technological innovation. Of the three, Bertelsmann has received the least attention in the English-language literature, but offers a potentially instructive contrast to the familiar pattern of Angelo-American enterprise. These case studies alone make this book a must-read for anyone interested in the political economy of contemporary culture. Media, Culture & Society Scott Fitzgerald's study of three of the largest media companies in the world may appear to be the same old story: powerful mega-corporations dominating cultural industries by mergers and profit-seeking strategies. But even if you're tired of hearing that story, I would recommend a closer look at this book, which presents a nuanced and theoretically sophisticated discussion of corporations and cultural industries. ... This book makes an important contribution to the understanding of this complex terrain. The study is an empirically solid and theoretically impressive analysis of these three super media companies. The extensive survey of current and past literature that has been dedicated to analysing the political economy of media and cultural industries in itself makes this book useful and important for anyone interested in understanding corporations' involvement in media. And in light of the continuing corporate presence in media developments worldwide, this should include all of us. European Journal Of Communication Several authors have previously explored the concept, nature, and functions of the cultural industries. Fitzgerald makes a most valuable contribution to this body of literature with an excellent theoretically informed and empirically rich account of a particular section of the cultural industries: corporations. Critical, rich in data, and historically insightful, this book contains a wealth of information for researchers and students of the cultural industries. Corporations and Cultural Industries... is a must read for any serious scholar in the field. Cultural Trends Fitzgerald's book is no polemical rant about the growing presence of large corporations in modern cultural markets. It's a stunning critical analysis of the relationships between capitalism and culture. Combining theoretical rigour, formidable reading, and careful research, this is one of the most important contributions to the political economy of media this century. -- David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds Corporations and Cultural Industries is the most compelling, insightful, and interesting book on the historical development of global cultural industries as an extensive form of case studies. Employing social theory and critical political economy, this excellent book analyzes how the forces of financialization have transformed major media corporations, such as Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and News Corporation, while effectively arguing for the primary role of nation-states in the midst of neoliberal globalization. While previous works on global cultural industries have emphasized neoliberal transformation of media corporations by analyzing convergence for synergy effect, the book by Scott Fitzgerald has timely developed a new theoretical framework with his emphasis on the de-convergence paradigm, which is a new trend in cultural industry studies. -- Dal Yong Jin, Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University Scott Fitzgerald's Corporations and Cultural Industries ranks among the very best of a new wave of political economic research that is both theoretically sophisticated and empirically detailed. His rigorous analyses of Time Warner, News Corp, and Bertelsmann demonstrate the importance of taking account of institutional specifics and national media market characteristics in the wider context of macro-level political and economic developments. If his work challenges critical political economists to pay more attention to the nuances of different forms of media ownership, regulation, and shifting value chains, then it also demands that creative industries researchers put these considerations back in the center of media analysis, where they belong. If you think Corporations and Cultural Industries sounds like yet another political-economic rant about ownership concentration of the global media, you'd be badly mistaken. Fitzgerald's book is a meticulously researched and superbly theorized analysis that deserves to be read by anyone who wants to understand how global media corporations really work. -- Peter A. Thompson, Victoira University of Wellington
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About Scott Warren Fitzgerald

Scott W. Fitzgerald is a lecturer of sociology at Curtin University of Technology.
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