Bigger danger seen in cable shows

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo - The Philippine Star

It is no secret that not a few observers of the media scene, television in particular, are wary of its impact and influence on young minds. Which is why, the local channels have discernibly been careful in maintaining a balance in its programming. Is there a similar care observed in cable TV programming, we have often wondered?

Among the cable shows we like, there is Tonight with Arnold Clavio airing Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 10:30 p.m. on GMA News TV where he has won Best Talk Show award from the Catholic Mass Media Awards. The Ellen Degeneres Show weekdays at 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. replayed at night, whose host is well-loved by Pinoys for being the first to feature up-and-coming Filipino singers like Charice. We find ourselves changing channels between Mornings@ANC (daily, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) with Pinky Webb, Ron Cruz, Ginger Conejero and Paolo Abrera, and other early morning shows.

Donde Esta Elisa is a Spanish telenovela aired Mondays to Fridays on Studio 23, whose lives changed drastically when the eldest Elisa disappears. This is when recriminations begin to haunt the family. Of course, there is The Vampire Diaries on etc on RPN-9, where two vampire brothers fall for the same girl who is terrified over becoming a vampire. Much fun, actually.

Then, there is Cartoon Network with our favorite Tom & Jerry cartoon characters; The Good Wife, a legal drama series on Velvet; Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild where the hosts spend seven to 10 days in wild terrains; the Lifestyle Network’s cooking shows and fashion tips from Mary Queen of Frocks; and the Lonely Planet’s airing on the National Geographic Adventure Channel of a reality-based travel series following nine chosen LP guidebook author/photographers.

This appears nice and dandy until we get hold of a report, Who Owns What on Television, by Alex Santoso divulging just how only a handful of large companies own and control the largest TV channels in the US and other places abroad. These are General Electric, Time Warner, Walt Disney Company News Corporation, CBS and Viacom.

 GE is the world’s third largest company into aircraft engines, locomotives, medical devices and TV networks NBC and Telemundo, 27 television stations in the US, plus cable TV networks including History Channel, A&E (Arts & Entertainment Network) and Sci Fi Channel, the popular TV website Hulu, with an update that A&E is co-owned by The Hearst Corporation and ABC, in turn, is owned by Disney.

Time Warner is the world’s largest media and entertainment company in film, TV, print, Internet and telecom. Time Warner has Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, CNN and Headline News. Meantime, The Walt Disney Company controls amusement parks, the Disney Channel, ABC television network, with more 200 affiliated stations reaching nearly 100 percent of all US television market, plus dozens of niche cable networks.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the largest media company in the world by market capitalization including Asia’s Star TV Network, National Geographic Channel, iconic TV Guide network and social networking giant MySpace. CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) and Viacom are owned by multi-billionaire Sumner Redstone, through his holding company National Amusements.

The report ignited those who support the new media. “Who owns what is important. Whoever controls the media determines what news is covered and how it is covered. They control minds, attitudes and opinions,” wrote one.Another agreed, “It’s important to know who controls media because it’s those groups who determine and approve of TV programming... According to proper capitalistic goals, these conglomerates must provide a service/good that sells, gains as much profit as possible to better sell those products/services. This leads to the use of mass media as a marketing tool to increase profit, affecting programming.”

Food for thought!

(E-mail your reactions to [email protected].)


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