Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A new challenge for book promotion

Were you worried about media consolidation before? Did you notice that book promotion opportunities with smaller media outlets, such as local radio stations (that used to be hosted by local radio personalities), were drying up as smaller media outlets were bought by bigger media outlets, and bigger media outlets were bought by huge conglomerates such as Clear Channel?

Well, the news from the book promotion trenches just got even more frightening with the Federal Trade Commission's most recent decision. According to a story in USA Today, the Federal Trade Commission voted on Tuesday to retract at law that had been on the books for 32 years to prevent one company from owning both a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same media market.

So now it's going to be perfectly legitimate for the New York Times and WABC-TV to be owned by the same company, and it will be absolutely legal for the Boston Globe to be operated by the same people who run WBZ-TV. I'm not saying those particular media marriages will come to pass, but certainly, similar alliances will be formed now that the FCC is allowing it.

What does further media consolidation mean for the media consumer? There will be fewer checks and balances on our news (and even our entertainment), and we're coming one step closer to giving just one powerful company, institution, or even person the right to influence what we believe, what we want, how we vote, and what we value.

What does further media consolidation mean for book promotion campaigns? Although it remains to be seen whether an author or a publisher with opinions or agendas that opose those of the media outlets will have a tougher time disseminating messages in the very near future, inevitably, that is what will happen.

In other words, get on the good side of any corporation that's poised to become a larger and more influential media owner in the major media markets -- and stay there. Some day soon, your book promotion opportunities may depend on it.