celebrities in media ownership

Step aside Mr Murdoch, Beyoncé is coming for your gig.

In Australia, there had been laws established in the 80s limiting legacy media ownership. Though recently, there was a successful push to take away restrictions like the ‘two out of three rule’ and the ‘reach rule’, as these regulations seem unnecessary in the internet age where we all have access to a wide range of sources and perspectives online. It’s interesting to then question whether this is a justifiable reality. ‘If the internet is exempt from restrictions, why aren’t we?’, this logic could be applied to a different notion; why isn’t the internet restricted and monitored? Shouldn’t all media be monitored? This sentiment sounds silly, because of course nobody can own the internet, and therefore what kind of control is there to be regulated?

You could argue that websites like Facebook or YouTube which are deeply ingrained in regular internet usage have a degree of control over content, because these companies place restrictions within their own domain and we as consumers are in many cases left with no satisfying and populated alternatives to these services. Though I believe there exists a much greater force online ‘owning’ internet influence across various websites and media; celebrities! Beyoncé, Ellen, the Kardashian/Jenner family in their entirety. These figures are used so often for the purposes of marketing, influence, and what you could even call propaganda. Celebrities can determine an individual’s likes, dislikes, consumer behavior, opinions, and beliefs.

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Recently in February, a new interface update for the popular social media app ‘SnapChat’ resulted in a wave of negative feedback from long time users. The company was experiencing big drops in stock prices due to the changes, though it has been speculated that Kylie Jenner’s influence may have somewhat caused this dip in stocks. It is very possible, with her being one of the most influential celebrities on social media (24.5 million twitter followers). While Snapchat’s stocks had been going down already post-update, the day after Kylie’s tweet (February 22) saw a significant 6% drop, directly after what seemed to be a slow upturn for the company. However, correlation does not always equal causation. Many believe these events are most likely coincidental. Despite this, Kylie Jenner’s influence is undeniable.

In the age of the internet where we are no longer limited in access to media content, ‘ownership’ of the media has changed hands. What we choose to consume is now determined by our attention, and who succeeds best at grabbing our attention? Those who are most influential. So, as Beyoncé notoriously asks her fans: “who run the world?” girls, she does.

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References

ABC News. (2017). Government’s media ownership law changes pass Senate with help from NXT, One Nation.

C Gartenberg. (2018). Snap stock plummets after Kylie Jenner declares Snapchat dead. The Verge.

 

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