Who has the Power? Convergent Media between Competition and Oversight


A mabb event

Keynote 13.30 – 13.50
The editorial society. The new power of the digital age.
Media penetrate the farthest reaches of political, economic, and private life. Given the increasingly dense integration of traditional and digital communications channels, the idea of a media-free space is no more today than an illusion left over from the past. What does this fascinating and yet disturbing trend mean? What should we expect? How should we act? Bernhard Pörksen, best-selling author and professor of media studies, begins from a core thesis in his keynote speech: We are living in an editorial society, in which every person has become a broadcaster. Transparency and enlightenment are possible at lightning speed – while at similarly breakneck pace, rumours and false reports are spread, and communities of protest and outrage form that toy with individual fates on a globally visible stage. A speech on the editorial society, with many illuminating, sometimes frightening, and even exhilarating examples.


Bernhard Pörksen, Professor of Media Studies, University of Tübingen

Who has the power? Convergent Media between competition and oversight. 13.50 - 14.45
Data is the new oil. Activities based on user data are creating new business models and companies and shifting power relations. Today, Google and Facebook as leading data-driven companies are increasingly expanding their power into the media sector. Many services that make daily life easier for users and broaden the media landscape have a business model centred on the collection of user data, typically under rules that vary significantly from company to company. According to studies, it would take 76 days for Internet users to read all the terms and conditions and privacy policies they encounter in daily life over the course of a year. However, experience shows that users instead click unheedingly through, accepting terms and conditions unread in order to enjoy services as quickly as possible. Protests are heard only once problems emerge later.

These trends lead to a number of questions: What influence do platforms such as Google and Facebook have on the creation and diversity of opinion? How can these platforms be subjected to effective oversight? Are there opportunities to create competitors to these established players? How should terms and conditions for the new intermediaries look? Can transparency with regard to the use of user data be a competitive advantage?


Volker Grassmuck, Media Sociologist, Independent Author and Activist

Dr. Thomas Höppner, Attorney, OLSWANG Germany LLP

Ulrich Kelber, Parliamentary State Secretary and Bundestag Member

Jan Kottmann, Head of Media Policy / Senior Policy Counsel DACH, Google Deutschland


Philipp Otto, iRights.Lab Think Tank and the iRights.Media Publishing House