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Understanding Institutions

jeremy | Tuesday December 01, 2009

Categories: Key Concepts, Institutions, Understanding Media, Understanding Key Concepts, New Media, Integration

The following A Level boards: AQA, OCR, and WJEC require students to demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of media institutions. The key requirement across the syllabuses is to understand the relationship between Institutions and their media products.

Students should have knowledge and understanding of these six topics:

  1. OWNERSHIP Ways in which ownership of a media institution can affect or influence the content and distribution of its media texts.
  2. MARKETING The way institutions can affect the marketing of media texts.
  3. AUDIENCES The significance of media ownership to the way audiences receive texts.
  4. TECHNOLOGY The importance of new technologies on media ownership and audiences.
  5. PUBLIC SERVICE The cultural and financial differences between public service institutions and commercial institutions.
  6. REGULATION the regulation of media institutions.

Use the anagram ‘AT PROM’ to help remember what’s important in Institutions. Anagrams are great for aide-memoirs. If you can’t work one out for yourself, use an internet based anagram server like this one to help you: http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html

Brief Definition

A Media Institution is an established and regulated organisation that owns, and produces many different media products, systems, and texts.

Media institutions tend to be large global corporations such as broadcasting companies, newspaper and magazine publishers, film production companies, music and publishing companies, and some governments.


In writing about media institutions it is best to avoid making generalised comments such as ‘they influence everything we watch’ or ‘they make enormous profits’. Try to be more specific and quote actual examples.

Media production is a market place where media products are bought and sold. Some products are more successful than others, and make money for everyone involved including the institution.

Some institutions may seek to have some influence...

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