Entertainment near-monopolies, just as with other sectors of business, can be positive or negative on a case-by-case business. With many arguments for and against the world’s media giants gaining increased awareness, it’s important to be measured in our understanding the most crucial of components. Inspired by Disney’s most recent among a long line of acquisitions ($71 billion for 21st Century Fox), we want to examine where the common complaints and compliments lie.
There are several major complaints about how entertainment super-companies work, though they tend to center on the idea of competition. Without competition, there can be a little drive to create something new and fresh. Instead, the best idea for a major company can be to homogenize their products, according to audience surveys and current public opinion. This can create a base level of agreeableness, but it prevents a level of greatness which is only possible through unfettered creative freedom.
The other major component of near-monopolies which has spectators worried is their propensity to purchase smaller companies, and then either gut them or pervert their original intent. Video games are a strong example in this regard, where mega-company the Electronic Arts is notorious for buying up smaller studios, forcing them to create a project which betrays their talent and passion, and then shutting them down when the project underperforms. This further eliminates diversity and limits customer choice.
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Compare this to another more competitive branch of the entertainment industry, that of online casino gaming. With no major overbearing mega-companies, competition is fierce in this sector, and this has given rise to a wide range of different casino sites. Among the main players here, all have a good reputation, offer a major range of bonuses and special offers, and strive to do something unique for their players.
The most positive aspect of media giants comes from a more personal level. Money might not care about the minutia of projects, but the people who control the money can. Take, for example, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These films had the potential to maintain the poor reputation that comic-book films had for years, as attempts to profit from popular properties never designed to translate outside of their original artforms.
While this might have set the MCU up for failure, the amount of talent behind these productions, combined with Disney’s funding, allowed them to create a universe far beyond anything film had seen before. As of this point, the MCU has generated over $22.5 billion in revenue, all while staying remarkably true to the source material, and achieving overwhelmingly positive fan and critical receptions.
Looking at the greater picture of entertainment, there are clear and undeniable indications that centralization within a few major groups is a growing reality. Whether or not this is a good thing is a complicated question and not one with any strict wrong or right answer. What might be a terrible company under one person’s leadership could be fantastic under another’s, and this is a constant balancing act with no settled end-point.
Instead, the only real choice we have is to judge on a case-by-case basis and to appreciate the positive while speaking out against the negative. It might not be a perfect solution, but for most of us, it’s going to be the most effective way to encourage and enjoy a better future of entertainment.