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Media conglomerate

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A media conglomerate, media group or media institution is a company that owns large numbers of companies in various mass media such as television, radio, publishing, movies, and the Internet.

"Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world." is a modern generalized description.[1]

Media conglomerates exist in Europe and Asia, as well as Latin America. As a legal construct a media conglomerate has become a standard feature of the global economic system since 1950.


A conglomerate is, by definition, a large company composed of a number of smaller companies engaged in seemingly unrelated businesses.

It is questionable whether media companies are unrelated, as of 2007. The trend has been strongly for the sharing of various kinds of content (news, film and video, music for example). The media sector is tending to consolidate, and formerly diversified companies may appear less so as a result. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however it has not so far replaced the more traditional term.[citation needed]

US examples

According to the 2014 Fortune 500 list, Comcast is America's largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Viacom and CBS Corporation (the latter two conglomerates are controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares) comprising the "Big Six" [2]

International media

Canada, Australia and NZ have perhaps a greater level of media concentration than the US does. The concentration issue is an ongoing issue for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Australian Communications and Media Authority and its NZ equivalent.


Critics have accused the larger conglomerates of dominating media, especially news, and refusing to publicize or deem "newsworthy" information that would be harmful to their other interests, and of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism) at the expense of tough coverage of serious issues. They are also accused of being a leading force for the standardization of culture (see globalization, Americanization), and they are a frequent target of criticism by various groups which often perceive the news organizations as being biased toward special interests.

There is also the issue of concentration of media ownership, reducing diversity in both ownership and programming (TV shows and radio shows). There is also a strong trend in the United States for conglomerates to eliminate localism in broadcasting, instead using broadcast automation and voice-tracking, sometimes from another city in another state. Some radio stations use prepackaged and generic satellite-fed programming with no local content, except the insertion of radio ads.

Notable examples (US)

Comcast 21st Century Fox Walt Disney Co. CBS Corp. Viacom Time Warner Sony Corp. of America
Movie production studio Universal Studios Fox Filmed Entertainment The Walt Disney Studios CBS Films Paramount Motion Pictures Group Warner Bros. Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
Theme park resorts Universal Parks and Resorts Twentieth Century Fox World Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando Parque Warner Madrid (5%)
Broadcast television network NBC, Cozi TV,
Fox, MyNetTV, MundoFox (50%), Movies! (50%) ABC, LWN CBS, The CW (50%) The CW (50%) GetTV
Cable channels NBCUniversal Cable FX Networks, National Geographic Channels Disney Channels Worldwide, ABC Family TVGN (50%), Showtime Networks Viacom Media Networks Turner Broadcasting System, HBO Sony Pictures TV networks
News, political, business channels MSNBC, CNBC, Weather Channel (JV) Fox News, Fox Business Fusion (50%) CNN/HLN
National sports networks NBC Sports Group, NHL Network (15.6%) Fox Sports Media Group ESPN Inc. CBS Sports Turner Sports
Record label Fox Music Disney Music Group CBS Records Viacom Music Group WaterTower Music Sony Music Entertainment
Publishing Marvel Comics, Disney Publishing Worldwide Simon & Schuster DC Comics
Internet iVillage, Fandango, Hulu (32%) Fox Sports Digital Media, Hulu (36%) Disney Interactive Media Group, Hulu (32%) CBS Interactive, CNET MTV New Media Flixster Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Crackle
2013 Revenues (rank) US$ 64.657 billion (2) US$ 31.867 billion (4) US$ 48.813 billion (3) US$ 15.284 billion (6) US$ 13.794 billion (7) US$ 29.795 billion (5) US$ 75.540 billion (1)

Other examples

Some of the most well-known media conglomerates include:

See also


  1. ^ Moglen, Eben, Michael Pertschuck, and Scott Sherman, (1999). "Editorials" (Nation, 269: 18). p. 12. ISSN: 00278378
  2. ^ Fortune Global 2000 The World's largest media companies of 2014