Financialization and the “Crisis of the Media”: The Rise and Fall of (Some) Media Conglomerates in Canada

Authors

  • Dwayne Winseck Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2010v35n3a2392

Keywords:

Financialization, Media concentration, Network media economy, Political economy

Abstract

ABSTRACT  New media have expanded the size of the media economy without cannibalizing the economic base of traditional media. The current woes facing some media primarily reflect a short-term, cyclical decline in advertising revenue caused by the economic downturn, the accumulated results of media consolidation, and the financialization of the media. The latter process saw vast sums of capital investment in the creation of massive media conglomerates based on wildly optimistic projections where future profits would grow faster than the expanding network media economy and exceed the high profits that characterized the media in the past. When that rosy scenario failed to materialize, some media companies were indeed in trouble and saddled with unsustainable debts, but there has been no crisis of the media per se.

RÉSUMÉ  Les nouveaux médias ont agrandi l’économie des médias sans cannibaliser les bases économiques des médias traditionnels. Les problèmes actuels que confrontent certains de ces médias reflètent surtout un déclin à court terme des revenus publicitaires causé par la situation économique récente, les résultats cumulatifs de la fusion des médias, et la financialisation des médias. En ce qui a trait à ce dernier processus, on a recouru à de vastes mises de fonds pour créer des conglomérats médiatiques massifs en croyant avec un
optimisme excessif que les futurs profits augmenteraient plus vite que l’économie des réseaux médiatiques en expansion et excéderaient les profits importants déjà réalisés par les médias dans le passé. Quand les profits attendus ne sont pas arrivés, certaines compagnies médiatiques se sont retrouvées avec des dettes insurmontables, mais il n’y a pas eu de crise des médias en tant que telle.

Author Biography

Dwayne Winseck, Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication

Dwayne Winseck is Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, with a cross-appointment to the Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.  His research examines the political economies of communication, media history, new media, surveillance and national security, as well as theories of democracy and globalization.  He has published widely in leading scholarly journals and occasionally in the popular press.  His latest book (co-authored with Robert M. Pike), Communication and Empire: Media, Markets and Globalization, 1860-1930 (2007, Duke University), won the Canadian Communication Association’s G.G. Robinson Award for book-of-the-year in 2008. 

Published

2010-11-01

Issue

Section

Articles