Media Conglomerates

By: Billy BeerSlugger

I get really weary of these media conglomerates the bigger and bigger they get.

Clear Channel.

  • 900+ Radio Stations
  • Formerly owned 40+ TV stations
  • Owns numerous outdoor advertising billboards and Taxi Cab displays.

Analysis: You can’t turn a radio station dial without every other station being owned by Clear Channel.  You can’t miss billboards they own if you travel on major highways. If you live in a metropolitan area you have seen news and sports scores on top of taxi cabs.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp

  • HarperCollins book publishing
  • Elektra Records catalog
  • More than 150 Newspapers in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, UK and Ireland and the United States.
  • Around 30 Magazines including GQ and Vouge.
  • 20th Century Fox (Film) and various other motion picture related entites
  • FOX Broadcasting Networks including FOX, Fox Business, News, Sports etc.
  • Fox International owns 120 channels around the world.
  • Social Network MySpace
  • Other online interests include (film review site),,

Analysis: Murdoch has his hands in pretty much everything. You’re not going to read an upper echelon newspaper in print or online that Murdoch doesn’t own. Many argue his Fox News network caters to a Republican agenda. It’s nice to own the biggest film rating website when your company makes movies. Rupert’s MySpace status says “Mogul”.

Walt Disney: Here’s what’s in the Mouses’ house.

  • ABC Television Network  has 226 affiliated stations reaching 99 percent of all U.S. television households.
  • ESPN and their channels.
  • Disney Channel, SOAPnet, A&E, the History Channel, the Biography Channel
  • Disney owns 277 radio stations in the United States through it’s stake in Citadel Broadcasting Corp.
  • 6 Magazines including ESPN the magazine. Marvel Comics and their catalog of charaters.
  • Hyperion Books (publishing)
  • Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Pixar and a host of Buena Vista companies.
  • The Disney internet group includes,, among others.

Analysis: Mickey and ESPN are pretty big.  ABC reaches just about everyone in the U.S. They will keep making movies with moneymaker Pixar and new acquisition Marvel Comics to just about corner the Comic Superhero market. Why does Disney control and I was always a bigger fan of Donald Duck.

Viacom / CBS Corp.

  • TV Stations include: MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon,VH1, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Palladia, BET, Showtime.
  • Paramount Pictures including: Dreamworks, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies.
  •,,,,, (49%).
  • 140 radio stations
  • Publishing includes Kaplan, Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, The Free Press, The Touchstone, Fireside Group.
  • CBS Network consists of 29 stations. CW Network (50%).
  • Video Game Developer Harmonix of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Analysis: I linked Viacom and CBS Corp together because even though they split up in 2005 after merging in 1999, Sumner Redstone still controls 71% of the voting stock in both companies. The influence MTV has on the youth of America turning them into mindless consumers is amazing.  Shows on MTV end now and they roll a Beatles Rock Band clip during the credits (Subliminal Commercial).  Palladia is actually pretty awesome and should be called Music Television.  I’m not sure who has more power at any given time: Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch?


  • HBO, Cinemax, CNN, TBS, Warner Bros. Television Group, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies
  • Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, Village Roadshow Pictures.
  • DC Comics (Batman + Superman)
  • People, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune among a host of other magazines.
  • AOL,, AOL Instant Messenger
  • Warner Music Group – one of the big 4 labels.

Analysis: After betting the farm on AOL and it not working out they have fallen off a bit.  Time Warner posted a $16.03 billion loss for the final quarter of 2008 which may lead it to sell of portions of it’s assets.

General Electric:

  • NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Sci Fi Channel, Telemundo, USA, Oxygen
  • NBC Universal Television Distribution, Universal Media Studios
  • NBC Universal (80% ownership): Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures. Universal has production agreements with Imagine Entertainment, Jersey Films, Tribeca Films, the Kennedy/Marshall Company, Playtone Company, Strike Entertainment, Type A Films and Working Title Films among others.

Analysis: Just read that Comcast Corp could be buying the NBC/Universal entertainment division from GE. This lead me to write this article. NBC has fallen off after the loss of must see TV, NBA games and Monday Night Football. Universal does come out with a lot of movies though. Telemundo always has hot chicks on there.

Overall Analysis:

With such a small amount of companies controlling such a vast amount of media it’s a wonder everything we see, read and hear on radio, newspapers and TV is so homogeneous.  When someone like Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch controls a vast empire of media, if a person, organization/corporation or member of government could persuade them to report the news a certain way or handle specific stories in a particular light or influence them whatsoever from a journalism standpoint this country is seriously fucked.  Knowledge is power and if you are controlling the knowledge or twisting the knowledge a certain way for hundreds of millions of people you can influence elections, shape public opinion and government policy. We as Americans are guaranteed free speech and press but I don’t think that’s what we’re getting from our media conglomerates.  When so much money relies on advertising these companies are effectively at the will of the advertisers and in some ways, the government which has found ways to censor news without effectively taking a newscast off the air.

Democracy is only as good as the level of credible journalism in that Democracy.  I found a worthy cause for this issue calling for more diversity in media. Find out ways you can get involved at

Look for more info on these conglomerates on

One of the best speeches on Media I’ve ever heard.

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