Six companies own everything. They dominate media, food, and even the government. These six companies, also known as the “big six”, hold vast amounts of power over various industries. They include comcast, disney, news corp, viacomcbs, time warner, and national amusements. Together, they control media outlets such as nbc, fox, abc, and cnn, as well as popular entertainment franchises like star wars and the marvel cinematic universe. In addition, they also own major food and beverage brands, publishing companies, and even theme parks. The big six’s level of influence has raised concerns about monopolies and the potential for limited competition in certain markets. As this continues to spark debate, it is imperative to understand the far-reaching impact of these corporate giants on our daily lives.
Introduction: A Surprising Truth
Media Ownership In The Age Of ConsolidationIn today’s world, six companies own almost everything–from media giants to snack-food companies and beyond. The vast concentration of ownership has massive implications–both good and bad–for society, its power structures and the marketplace. This blog post aims to provide you with a clear and concise view of who these six mega-corporations are and how their ownership impacts our daily lives. Let’s start with the first subheading–media ownership in the age of consolidation. Media consolidation is the practice of consolidating media ownership among fewer and larger corporations. For years, there have been growing concerns about media consolidation and the fact that a few corporations own most of the media outlets. Here are some bullets points to help explain media ownership.
- The top six media companies in the us are comcast, walt disney, news corp, cbs corporation, viacomcbs, and at&t.
- These companies own almost all of the major media outlets–from cable networks to streaming services to movie studios.
- Through mergers and acquisitions, these companies continue to consolidate their hold on the market, making it difficult for smaller organizations to compete with them.
- The concentration of ownership leads to homogenization of content and less diversity of voices and opinions.
- Media consolidation suppresses investigative journalism in favor of sensationalistic news to gain higher ratings and ad revenue.
The Big Six: Who Are They And What Do They Own?The entertainment industry forms a significant part of our lives, and our love for movies, music, and games is almost second nature. But how much do we know about the companies that produce most of the content we consume? We delve into the six biggest entertainment corporations globally, their ownership structures, and their impact on the industry as we know it. So, let’s get started with the first subheading –
The Secret Behind Media OwnershipMedia ownership refers to the control that a few large corporations have over various media outlets. These corporations often own several different media types, including television stations, radio stations, newspaper publishers, book publishers, and movie studios. Media consolidation, or the trend toward fewer and larger media companies, has been on the increase for the past few decades. This consolidation is often driven by mergers and acquisitions, resulting in the formation of massive conglomerates that control different aspects of the entertainment industry.
An Overview Of The Six Biggest Media Companies
- Disney: This entertainment giant is the largest media company globally, generating over $60 billion in revenue in 2019. Disney’s ownership structure forms one of the most vast and complex in the entertainment industry. The company has several divisions, including media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products. Disney owns marvel, abc, pixar, espn, and hulu, among other subsidiaries.
- Comcast: Comcast is a telecommunications conglomerate that owns several media properties through its nbc universal subsidiary. The company generates about $95 billion in revenue, making it the largest media firm by business size. Nbc universal owns nbc, telemundo television studios, universal pictures, and dreamworks animation, among others.
- Viacomcbs: Viacomcbs owns several media brands, including cbs television, showtime networks, nickelodeon, mtv networks, simon & schuster, and paramount pictures. The company generates over $28 billion in revenue and owns several theme parks, television stations, and radio networks worldwide.
- At&t inc.: At&t owns warnermedia, which boasts one of the most extensive media footprints in the world. This subsidiary owns several brands, including cnn, hbo, tbs, tnt, warner bros., and rooster teeth, among others. The company generates about $181.2 billion in revenue, making it one of the largest media corporations globally.
- Bertelsmann: Bertelsmann is a german-based conglomerate that owns several media outlets, including book publisher penguin random house. The company also owns a 75% stake in gruner + jahr, one of the leading magazine publishers globally. Bertelsmann has revenue streams that exceed $18 billion.
- Sony corporation: Sony’s primary entertainment subsidiary, sony pictures entertainment, produces and distributes several popular television shows, movies, and music. The company generates around $79.2 billion in revenue and owns columbia pictures, tristar, and several other media properties.
The Scope Of Their Control Over The Entertainment IndustryThe big six media companies’ control over the entertainment industry is vast and all-encompassing. These companies own several television stations, radio networks, sports channels, magazines, newspapers, movie studios, and other entertainment properties globally. Their control over the industry is such that they dictate what content is produced, distributed, and consumed by audiences worldwide. Consolidation has led to reduced competition, enabling these companies to exert near-total dominance over the industry, with few companies being in the position to challenge their power. To sum up, media ownership and consolidation have led to massive conglomerates that control most of the entertainment industry. The companies we have listed are among the biggest and most influential, with revenue streams in the billions. Their dominance is such that they exert significant control over the industry, shaping what we watch, read, and listen to.
The Walt Disney Company: More Than A Magic KingdomThe walt disney company is known globally for its theme parks, movies, and cartoons. But did you know they own vast entertainment verticals across different industries? Here’s a closer look at the history of disney’s evolution into a media giant, their holdings, and the impact of their power on the film and television industry.
The History Of Disney’S Evolution Into A Media Giant
- Founded in 1923 in burbank, california, disney began as an animation studio with the creation of “steamboat willie,” an animated short starring mickey mouse.
- Disney quickly expanded into television with “the mickey mouse club” in 1955 and “walt disney’s wonderful world of color” in 1961.
- In the following decades, disney expanded into theme parks, merchandising, music production, and acquired various media companies, such as abc, espn, and pixar.
- Today, disney is a media conglomerate with a market capitalization of over $318 billion.
An Examination Of Their Vast Holdings Across Entertainment VerticalsDisney’s vast holdings span across many entertainment verticals, from film production to sports broadcasting. Here are some of their notable holdings:
- Film and television: Walt disney pictures, marvel studios, lucasfilm, pixar, touchstone pictures, hollywood pictures, espn films
- Theme parks: Disneyland resort, walt disney world resort, disney cruise line, shanghai disney resort, hong kong disneyland resort, tokyo disney resort
- Music: Hollywood records, walt disney records, buena vista recordings
- Publishing: Marvel comics, lucasfilm press, disney publishing worldwide
- Broadcast and cable: Abc, espn, freeform, fx networks
The Impact Of Disney’S Power On The Film And Television IndustryDisney’s dominance in the entertainment industry has both positive and negative effects. Here are some ways disney’s power has impacted the film and television industry:
- Positive: Disney has created beloved franchises, such as star wars and the marvel cinematic universe, that resonate with audiences and generate massive box office revenue.
- Negative: Disney’s dominance can limit diversity and creativity in the industry, as they prioritize established franchises and brands over original content. This can make it difficult for independent filmmakers to break into the industry.
- Furthermore, disney’s control over various media companies can lead to potential conflicts of interest and bias in reporting on their properties.
Comcast: Not Just Your Cable Company
The Transformation Of Comcast Into A Media EmpireComcast was once known exclusively as a cable company, but it has since transformed into a media empire, thanks to its acquisition of nbcuniversal in 2011. This acquisition allowed comcast to delve into the world of content creation and distribution, positioning it as a dominant player in the media industry. Here are some key points to consider:
- Comcast’s acquisition of nbcuniversal granted the company control over multiple media platforms, including nbc, universal pictures, and telemundo.
- Comcast’s media portfolio also includes sports programming, such as the olympics and the nfl.
- With its presence in both content creation and distribution, comcast has an impressive range of products and services to offer to consumers.
Their Control Over Television Media And DistributionComcast’s control over television media and distribution is a key factor in its dominance in the media industry. The company’s ability to provide both content and a means of accessing it has given it significant power. Here are some key points to consider:
- Comcast’s cable services give it a direct line to millions of households across the united states, making it a crucial player in the tv market.
- With its ownership of nbcuniversal, comcast has control over a large portion of television programming, including news, primetime shows, and sports.
- Comcast’s streaming service, peacock, gives the company a foothold in the rapidly-growing world of streaming media.
The Effect Of Their Influence On The Future Of Cable And Streaming ServicesComcast’s influence on the media industry has had a significant impact on the future of both cable and streaming services. Here are some key points to consider:
- Comcast’s ownership of both content and distribution makes it a unique player in the media industry that few other companies can match.
- The rise of streaming media has put pressure on traditional cable companies, but comcast’s presence in both spaces has given it a strong position in the marketplace.
- Comcast’s evolution from a cable company to a media empire is indicative of the larger trend of consolidation in the media industry. As companies look to expand their influence, they are increasingly buying up other businesses to further their reach.
At&T: More Than Just A Phone Company
The Growth Of At&T’S Media And Entertainment DivisionOver the years, at&t has expanded beyond its initial role as a telecommunications company. Today, it boasts one of the most significant media and entertainment divisions in the world. Here are some key points to consider:
- At&t’s acquisition of time warner in 2018 for $85 billion signaled the company’s desire to expand its media and entertainment presence.
- With the merger, at&t gained control of assets such as hbo, turner broadcasting, and warner bros.
- At&t has since rebranded its media division to warnermedia, emphasizing its efforts to become a major player in the entertainment industry.
Their Control Over Television And Film ProductionWith control over significant media assets, at&t has become a dominant force in television and film production. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Hbo is arguably the most prominent premium television channel, and at&t now controls its programming.
- Turner broadcasting includes several networks, such as cnn, tbs, and cartoon network, giving at&t a foothold in both news and entertainment.
- Warner bros. is one of the most extensive and most successful production studios in the film industry. At&t’s ownership gives it major influence over the movies that are made and released.
The Implications Of At&T’S Power On The Telecommunications IndustryAt&t’s expansion into media and entertainment is not without consequences, particularly for the telecommunications industry. Here are some points to consider:
- With the acquisition of time warner, at&t has become an enormous conglomerate with significant control over numerous industries, including media, communications, and entertainment.
- This level of power raises concerns about potential anti-competitive behaviors and conflicts of interest.
- Critics argue that at&t’s control over so many aspects of the media and telecommunications industries could lead to reduced innovation and diversity in programming.
Viacomcbs: The Marriage Of Two Giants
The Merger Of Viacom And CbsIn 2019, media behemoth viacom and broadcasting giant cbs merged, creating viacomcbs. After spending 13 years apart following their initial split in 2006, the two media companies tied the knot in a $30 billion deal. The merger was the culmination of a series of moves by viacom ceo, bob bakish, to consolidate and streamline the company’s holdings. With this merger, viacomcbs became one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, with a significant presence not just in the united states, but across the globe.
Their Influence On Television And Film ProgrammingSince the merger of viacom and cbs, the company has become a dominant player in the world of television and film programming. Viacomcbs boasts a considerable number of brands and channels under its belt, including mtv, bet, nickelodeon, paramount pictures, and more. The company also owns several streaming services, such as cbs all access and pluto tv. With its diverse range of channels, viacomcbs is capable of catering to a vast demographic, offering programming that appeals to all ages and interests. The company’s streaming services have made it easier for people to access their favorite shows and movies on-demand, further solidifying their influence in the entertainment industry.
The Reach Of Their Media Holdings In Advertising And Streaming ServicesThe merger of viacom and cbs resulted in the creation of a media powerhouse that has a significant presence in both advertising and streaming services. With their extensive holdings across a range of media platforms, viacomcbs has become a one-stop-shop for all things entertainment. The company’s reach is broad, which has made it a go-to option for advertisers looking to target a wide audience. Viacomcbs’s streaming services have also increased its reach, making it easier for people to access content wherever and whenever they want. The company’s subscription-based platform, cbs all access, has grown to become one of the most popular options available, with a library that includes exclusive content, live sports, and current and classic tv shows. Overall, viacomcbs’s influence on the world of entertainment is undeniable. With its diverse range of channels, streaming services, and extensive advertising reach, the company continues to shape the media landscape in the united states and beyond.
News Corp: Beyond The News
Rupert Murdoch’S Empire And Control Of Media OutletsRupert murdoch’s media empire, news corp, is one of the largest media conglomerates worldwide. He owns several news outlets across the globe, including the wall street journal, fox news, and the sun, giving him significant control over news media.
- News corp reaches over 150 million users and has a significant global impact on politics, media, advertising, and entertainment.
- The company’s revenue primarily comes from media distribution, advertising, and subscription fees.
The Influence Of Fox News On Political DiscourseAs one of the most influential news outlets in the world, fox news is also one of the most influential platforms for conservative news and opinions. Fox news significantly impacts political discussions due to its political stance, content, and influence which extends beyond the usa.
- The network’s programming focuses mostly on conservative and republican views and promotes a narrow point of view that its audience passionately embraces.
- Fox news has also been a significant player in political campaigns, promoting certain candidates and often shaping political discourse.
The Impact Of News Corp On Social Media And AdvertisingIn addition to the news corp’s influence on traditional media, rupert murdoch’s media giant has also impacted social media.
- News corp owns storyful, a social media intelligence firm that is providing vital social media information to some of the world’s biggest brands and media agencies.
- News corp’s influence on the advertising industry is significant because it owns one of the world’s largest advertising companies, which helps brands reach new customers.
Amazon: Is There Anything They Can’T Do?
The Growth Of Amazon’S Media And Entertainment DivisionAmazon has come a long way since its inception as an online bookstore in 1995. Today, amazon is a giant in the e-commerce industry and has its fingers in many pies. One of the most notable is its media and entertainment division. Here are some key points to note about the growth of this division:
- Amazon’s media and entertainment division comprises many arms, including amazon prime video, amazon studios, amazon music, and audible.
- This division’s revenue grew by 37% yoy from 2019 to 2020, generating $23.7 billion in revenue in 2020.
- By 2025, experts predict that amazon’s media and entertainment revenue will hit $37 billion.
- Some of the most popular amazon prime video originals include the marvelous mrs. maisel, the man in the high castle, and the boys.
Their Control Over The Streaming IndustryAmazon’s influence in the streaming industry is undeniable. With amazon prime video, it has slowly been taking over the streaming market share. Here is what to note about this:
- As of 2020, amazon prime video has over 150 million subscribers, putting it in second place in the streaming market after netflix.
- Amazon prime video has been producing more and more original content with bigger budgets, placing it as a major challenger to netflix.
- Amazon’s acquisition of mgm studios for $8.45 billion in may 2021 has strengthened amazon’s position even more.
- Amazon’s popular channels, including hbo, starz, and showtime, are available through amazon prime video for an additional fee.
The Implications Of Amazon’S Influence On Consumer BehaviorAmazon’s growth and increasing prevalence in various industries have made it a powerful force in shaping consumer behaviour. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Amazon’s media and entertainment division offers a personalized and convenient experience to consumers, with amazon prime memberships facilitating easy streaming, reading, and music listening.
- Amazon’s original content attracts viewers to the platform, ultimately driving purchases and subscriptions.
- Amazon’s power in the e-commerce industry means that it can offer bundle deals to subscribers of its media and entertainment services. For example, subscribers get discounts on amazon’s fire tv or amazon echo products.
- Amazon’s influence is likely to continue growing, making it more important than ever for businesses to learn how to leverage amazon’s popularity to their advantage.
The Impact Of Media Consolidation On Society
The Dangers Of Media ConsolidationMedia consolidation, also referred to as media convergence, occurs when a few companies take ownership of the majority of media outlets. This situation is increasingly common, with six companies now controlling most media outlets. While this may seem harmless, the dangers of media consolidation cannot be underestimated. Here are some of the key risks associated with media consolidation:
- Reduced diversity of media outlets: With only a few companies controlling the vast majority of media outlets, there is a risk that diverse opinions and viewpoints may be suppressed. This creates an information vacuum where sources of information are limited, and the public’s ability to understand complex issues is severely limited.
- Increased political bias: When a small group of companies controls the media, there is a risk that politics will become increasingly polarised. This is because the companies may favour particular political ideologies and promote them in their media outlets.
- Potential loss of quality: When companies own multiple media outlets across different platforms, there is a risk that they will reduce the quality of their content in order to save costs. This can lead to a decline in the quality of journalism as well as the diversity of content available.
The Risks To DemocracyMedia consolidation poses a significant risk to democracy. Here are some of the main risks:
- Manipulation of public opinion: A few companies controlling the majority of media outlets creates a risk that large swathes of the public can be manipulated. With such a small number of voices available, the companies owning the media outlets can easily sway the public in one direction or another, creating a compliant electorate that are easily controlled.
- Reduced accountability: When companies control a significant proportion of the media, there is a risk that they may lose accountability. Since the public is reliant on the media for information, a lack of accountability could result in a large number of people having their views shaped by a biased source.
- Propaganda: Media consolidation makes it easier for companies to produce and distribute propaganda. Since the media has a significant influence on the public, it can be used to shape public perceptions in a way that benefits the interests of the companies that own the media outlets.
The Need For Regulatory InterventionGiven the dangers associated with media consolidation, regulatory intervention is necessary to prevent further consolidation. Here are some of the key measures that could be pursued:
- Simultaneous ownership restrictions: Regulators could place restrictions on the number of outlets that one company can own at the same time. This would create a more diverse media landscape and would prevent any one company from dominating the market.
- Increased transparency: Regulators could require more transparency by media companies regarding their ownership stakes. This would allow the public to better understand who controls the media and the potential conflicts of interest that come with that control.
- Diversity requirements: Regulators could impose diversity requirements on media outlets, ensuring that outlets are representative of the communities they serve and preventing a single company from having too much sway over public opinion.