What Is a Disadvantage of Privately Owned Media?

One disadvantage of privately owned media is that private firms may place emphasis on profit, rather than media that serves public interest, according to Pew Research. Private media may also serve to stifle alternative points of view, offering homogenous content that does not depict the full range of perspectives surrounding current events.

One of the biggest criticisms of private media is that broadcasting corporations focus primarily on programming that is intended to draw in as many viewers as possible, often using content that is sensationalized and superficial. Non-profit public media, which is less concerned with generating the largest viewership possible, typically caters to a wider, more esoteric range of interests. Private media organizations, such as CNN or Fox News, may focus heavily on the largest stories of the moment, while disregarding other events that draw fewer viewers.

Another argument against private media is that private corporations generally offer far more centralized, standardized programming, creating a more homogenous media culture overall. While private corporations may broadcast mostly similar content across the entire country, public media is generally more concerned with local programming, working alongside community advisers and organizations to cater to the unique interests of specific cities, states or regions. Public media often takes steps to show a variety of perspectives on current issues. Larger private media corporations may not always do as much to report alternative viewpoints, especially if go against the company’s corporate interests.