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Media conglomerate

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A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company that owns numerous companies involved in mass media enterprises, such as television, radio, publishing, motion pictures, theme parks, or the Internet. According to the magazine The Nation, "Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world."[1]


A conglomerate is a large company composed of a number of smaller companies (subsidiaries) engaged in generally unrelated businesses.

Starting in 2007, it has been questioned[2]if media companies actually are related.[vague] Some media conglomerates use their access in multiple areas to share various kinds of content such as: news, video and music, between users. The media sector's tendency to consolidate has caused formerly diversified companies to appear less diverse[to whom?] in comparison with similar companies[clarification needed]. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however, it has not yet replaced the more traditional term.[3]

Examples by country[edit]

In the 2018 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast was America's largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, CBS Corporation and Viacom (both are controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares), and 21st Century Fox comprising the top six.[4][5]

In 1984, fifty independent media companies owned the majority of media interests within the United States. As of October 2017, there are only six big companies.[6]

Between 1941 and 1975, several laws that restricted channel ownership within radio and television were enacted in order to maintain unbiased and diverse media. However under the Reagan administration,Congress and the Federal Communications Commission began deregulation led by FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler between the years 1981 and 1985. The amount of television stations a single entity can own increased from seven to 12 stations.

The industry continued deregulate with the signing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Signed by President Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996, it is considered by the FCC to be the "first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years."[7] Now that the 40-station ownership cap was lifted, the radio industry experienced an unprecedented amount of consolidation. Since this period, Clear Channel Communications grew from 40 stations to 1200 stations, in all 50 states, while Viacom grew to owning 180 stations across 41 markets.

As media consolidation grew, the some in the nation began to spectate how it might negatively impact society at large. In the case of Minot, North Dakota,[8] the concerns regarding media consolidation is realized. On January 18, 2002, a train containing hazardous chemicals derailed in the middle of the night, exposing countless Minot residents to toxic waste. Upon trying to get out an emergency broadcast, the Minot police were unable to reach anyone. They were instead forwarded to the same automated message, as all the broadcast stations in Minot were single-handedly owned by Clear Channel Communications.

Between the years 2002 and 2006, the conglomerates expanded. As the FCC reviews media ownership rules, broadcasters petition for the elimination of all rules, while those who are against the decision cite the incident in Minot as how consolidation could be harmful. In 2005, top companies Verizon and MCI Inc. received approval to combine, while SBC acquired AT&T, respectively, giving the nation's premier communication company a global reach unmatched by any other.

As of 2017, 90% of the United States' media is controlled by six companies: Comcast, Fox, The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, AT&T, and CBS.[9]

Like the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand[10] also experience the concentration of multiple media enterprises in a few companies. This concentration is an ongoing concern for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority. Other countries that have large media conglomerates with impacts on the world include: Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, China, and Brazil. Media conglomerates outside of the United States include Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, ProSiebanSat.1, Hubert Burda Meda, Fuji Media Holdings, ITV, Mediaset, Axel Springer, JCDecaux, China Central Television, Asahi Shimbun Company, Grupo Globo, Baidu, and Bertelsmann.[11]


Critics have accused the large media conglomerates of dominating the media and using unfair practices. During a protest in November of 2007, critics such as Jesse Jackson spoke out against consolidation of the media.[2]This can be seen in the news industry, where corporations refuse to publicize information that would be harmful to their interests. Because some corporations do not publish any material that criticizes them or their interests, media conglomerates have been criticized for limiting free speech or not protecting free speech.[12] These practices are also suspected of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism[13]) at the expense of the coverage of serious issues. They are also accused of being a leading force behind the standardization of culture (see globalization,[12] Americanization) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being biased toward special interests of the owners.[12]

Because these conglomerates have so much power and influence, critics[who?] bring up the question of whether that amount of power is justifiable. It can and is easily abused. Some[who?] wonder if it's better to lessen the amount of conglomerates to reduce the likeliness of unfair practices.[12]

There is also criticism[weasel words] that the concentration of media ownership reduces diversity in both ownership and programming of TV shows and radio programs. Because there are fewer independent media, there is less diversity in news and entertainment[ambiguous] and therefore less competition. This can result in the reduction of different points of view as well as vocalization about different issues.[14] There is also a lack of ethnic and gender diversity as a majority of those in media[where?] are white, middle-class men. There is a concern that their views are being shared disproportionately more than other groups, such as women and ethnic minorities[which?].[15] Women and minorities also have less ownership of media.[15] Women have less than 7 percent of TV and radio licenses, and minorities have around 7 percent of radio licenses and 3 percent of TV licenses.[16]

Notable examples[edit]

Comcast 21st Century Fox Walt Disney Co. Viacom CBS Corporation AT&T Sony (Japan) Bertelsmann (Germany) Vivendi (France) Televisa (Mexico) Grupo Globo (Brazil) ABS-CBN (Philippines) The Times Group


Movie production studio Universal Filmed Entertainment Group 20th Century Fox Walt Disney Studios, UTV Pictures (India) Paramount Motion Pictures Group CBS Films Warner Bros. Pictures Group Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group UFA StudioCanal Videocine Globo Filmes Star Cinema, Skylight Films Mirchi Movies Limited, Junglee Pictures Limited
TV production Universal Television, Universal Cable Productions, DWA Television 20th Century Fox TV, Endemol Shine Group (NL JV) ABC Studios, It's a Laugh Productions, Disney TV Animation, Marvel TV Paramount Television CBS Television Studios WB TV Group, WB Animation, Cartoon Network Studios Sony Pictures Television (US) FremantleMedia (UK) Banijay Entertainment, Zodiak Media (26.2%) Estúdios Globo ABS-CBN Entertainment, Dreamscape Entertainment, Star Creatives TV Metropolitan Media Company Limited
Broadcast TV network NBC, Cozi TV,
Telemundo, TeleXitos
Fox, MyNetworkTV, Movies! (50%) ABC, LWN, Super RTL (50% DE) Disney Channel ((RU) DE) CBS, The CW (50%), Decades (JV) Chilevision, The CW (50%) GetTV (US) Buzzr (US)
RTL Group (LU)
Canal+ Group Canal de las Estrellas, Canal 5, Gala TV, FOROtv Rede Globo, Globosat (Brazil), Globo TV International ABS-CBN Times Global Broadcasting and Zoom Entertainment Network
Cable channels NBCUniversal Cable, Sky (75%) FX Networks, Star channels, Nat Geo channels (73%) Disney Channels Worldwide, Freeform, A&E Networks (50%) Viacom Media Networks Pop (50%), Showtime Networks Turner Broadcasting System, HBO Sony Pictures Television TV channels Televisa Networks Creative Programs, ABS-CBN Global Times Music, Movies Now, Romedy Now
News, business channels/
NBCUniversal News Group Fox News, Fox Business ABC News, ABC News Radio CBS News, CBSN CNN, HLN CNews GloboNews ABS-CBN News, ABS-CBN News Channel ET Now, Lead India, Mirror Now, Times Now
National sports networks/
NBC Sports Group, NHL Network (15.6%) Fox Sports Media Group ESPN Inc. (80%) CBS Sports Turner Sports, AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (16%), NBA TV Sony ESPN (India) Canal Sport TDN SporTV ABS-CBN Sports, ABS-CBN Sports+Action
Back Lot Music Fox Music Disney Music Group Comedy Central Records, Nick Records CBS Records WaterTower Music Sony Music Entertainment (US), Sony/ATV Music Publishing (US), EMI Music Publishing (UK, 38%) BMG Universal Music Group Som Livre Star Music Zoom, Radio Mirchi
Publishing Marvel Comics, Disney Publishing Worldwide Simon & Schuster DC Comics, MAD Magazine Gruner + Jahr, Penguin Random House (US, UK 53%), Bertelsmann Printing Group Editorial Televisa, Intermex Editora Globo ABS-CBN Publishing The Times of India, The Economic Times, Navbharat Times, The Illustrated Weekly of India
Internet Hulu (30%) MTV New Media CBS Interactive, CNET Hulu (10%) Crackle, PlayStation Network, Sony Interactive Entertainment Dailymotion Comercio Más, Televisa Digital ABS-CBN Digital Media, CricBuzz,, TimesJobs, SimplyMarry, MagicBricks, ZigWheels
iVillage, Fandango (70%) Fox Sports Digital Media ESPN+ Fandango (30%)
Video games Universal Brand Development FoxNext[17] (FoxNet)[18] Disney Games and Interactive Experiences
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment SIE Worldwide Studios
2017 Revenues US$84.52 billion[19]
NBCUniversal: US$33 billion[20]
US$28.50 billion [21] US$55.13 billion [22] US$13.26 billion [23] US$13.69 billion [24] US$190 billion
WarnerMedia: US$31.27 billion [25]
US$68.23 billion [26]
Sony Entertainment (14.1 billion)(Sony Pictures: US$8.21 billion,[27] Sony Music: US$5.89 billion[28])
US$20.30 billion US$14.70 billion US$4.81 billion [29] US$4.4 billion US$760 million US$1.5 billion (2016) [30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moglen, Eben, Michael Pertschuck, and Scott Sherman, (1999). "Editorials" (Nation, 269: 18). p. 12. ISSN 0027-8378
  2. ^ a b "Critics Turn Out To Protest Media Consolidation". 2007-11-01. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  3. ^ "A distinction between Business Groups and Conglomerates:The Limited Liability Effect". SSRN Electronic Journal 01/2009; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.134299. 2009-01-01. Archived from the original on 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  4. ^ "The World's Biggest Public Companies". Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  5. ^ Finke, Nikki (April 16, 2013). "21st Century Fox Is Rupert Murdoch's Renamed Entertainment Giant "To Take Us Into Future"". Deadline Hollywood.
  6. ^ "Timeline". Moyers on America. PBS. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Telecommunications Act of 1986". Federal Communications Commission. FCC. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  8. ^ Fisher, Marc. "Sounds Familiar for a Reason". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  9. ^ Lutz, Ashley. "These 6 Corporations Control 90% of the Media in America". Business Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  10. ^ Hope, Wayne; Myllylahti, Merja. "Financialisation of Media Ownership in New Zealand". New Zealand Sociology, suppl. Special Issue on Inequality and Class in New Zealand. 28 (23).
  11. ^ O'Reilly, Lara. "The 30 Biggest Media Companies in the World". Business Insider.
  12. ^ a b c d Stoll, Mary Lyn (June 2006). "Infotainment and the Moral Obligations of the Multimedia Conglomerate". Journal of Business Ethics. 66 (2–3).
  13. ^ Kenix, Linda Jean. "Independent Websites Not So Different from Group-Owned". Newspaper Research Journal. 35 (2).
  14. ^ Shah, Anup. "Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership". Global Issues.
  15. ^ a b Gamson, Joshua; Latteier, Pearl. "Do media monsters devour diversity?". 3 (3).
  16. ^ "Diversity in Media Ownership". Free Press. Retrieved 11/6/17. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ McNary, Dave (January 18, 2017). "Fox Amps Up Immersive Business With FoxNext, Taps Salil Mehta". Variety. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  18. ^ "FoxNet". 21st Century Fox. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Comcast Corporation (CMCSA)". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  20. ^ "Comcast Reports 4th Quarter and Year End 2017 Results". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  21. ^ "Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (FOX)". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  22. ^ "The Walt Disney Company (DIS)". 2017-11-09. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  23. ^ "Viacom". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  24. ^ "CBS Corporation". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  25. ^ "Time Warner Inc". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  26. ^ "Sony Corporation (SNE)". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  27. ^ "Consolidated Financial Results for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-06-14. line feed character in |title= at position 31 (help)
  28. ^ "Consolidated Financial Results for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-06-14. line feed character in |title= at position 31 (help)
  29. ^ "Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. (TV)". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  30. ^ "The BCCL empire—towering over the competition". Retrieved 2018-07-27. External link in |work= (help)