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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.

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 prospective investors in comparison with similar companies that are traded publicly and privately. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however, it has not yet replaced the more traditional term.[2]


Critics have accused the large media conglomerates of dominating the media and using unfair practices. During a protest in November 2007, critics such as Jesse Jackson spoke out against consolidation of the media.[3] 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 Because some corporations do not publish any material that criticizes them or their interests, media conglomerates have been criticized for limiting free speech or not protecting free speech.[4] These practices are also suspected of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism[5]) 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,[4] Americanization) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being biased toward special interests of the owners.[4]

Because there are fewer independent media, there is less diversity in news and entertainment and therefore less competition. This can result in the reduction of different points of view as well as vocalization about different issues.[6] 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?].[7] Women and minorities also have less ownership of media.[7] 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.[8]

Examples by country[edit]

In the 2021 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast was America's largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, with ViacomCBS (controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares), The Walt Disney Company, & Discovery, Inc. completing the top four.[9]

In 1984, fifty independent media companies owned the majority of media interests within the United States. By 2011, 90% of the United States's media was controlled by six media conglomerates: GE/Comcast (NBC, Universal), News Corp (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post), Disney (ABC, ESPN, Pixar), Viacom (MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures), Time Warner (CNN, HBO, Warner Bros.), and CBS (Showtime,[10][11]

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, then led by FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler, began a concerted deregulation over the years 1981 and 1985. The number of television stations a single entity can own increased from seven to 12 stations.[citation needed]

The industry continued to deregulate with enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Signed by President Bill Clinton on 8 February 1996, it was considered by the FCC to be the "first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years".[12] In the radio industry, the 40-station ownership cap was lifted, leading to 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.[citation needed]

As media consolidation grew, some in the nation began to speculate how it might negatively impact society at large. In the case of Minot, North Dakota,[13] the concerns regarding media consolidation is realized. On 18 January 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. As the FCC reviews media ownership rules, broadcasters continued to petition it for the elimination of all rules, while those who are against this easing would often cite the incident in Minot as how consolidation could be harmful.[citation needed]

Like the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, and New Zealand[14] 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, the Philippine National Telecommunications Commission, 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, Hubert Burda Media, Fuji Media Holdings, ITV, ProSiebenSat.1, Mediaset, Axel Springer, JCDecaux, China Central Television, Alibaba Group, ABS-CBN Corporation, GMA Network, Inc., TV5 Network, Inc., Asahi Shimbun Company, Grupo Globo, Baidu, and Bertelsmann.[15]

United States[edit]

The Walt Disney Company AT&T Comcast ViacomCBS Access Industries[16] Discovery, Inc. Hasbro
Movie production Walt Disney Studios, UTV Motion Pictures (India) Warner Bros. Pictures Group Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Paramount Pictures Motion Group AI Film (UK), RatPac-Dune Entertainment (controlling stake[17]), Access Entertainment (US) Entertainment One Films
TV production Disney TV Studios, It's a Laugh Productions, Disney TV Animation, FX Productions, Freeform Productions WB TV Group, WB Animation, WBITVP, Cartoon Network Studios NBCUniversal Content Studios, Sky Studios, DWA Television Paramount TV Studios, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, CBS Films, CBS Studios Amedia (majority stake[18]) (RU) Discovery Studios, All3Media (50%) Boulder Media (IE), Entertainment One Television
Broadcast TV network ABC, Localish (US); RTL Zwei (15.75% DE) The CW (50%) NBC, Cozi TV, Sky,
Telemundo, TeleXitos
CBS, The CW (50%), Chilevision, Decades (JV) R.G.E. Group (33%[19]) (IL) Discovery International
Cable channels Disney Channels, UTV net, A&E Networks (50%), Fox Nets Group, Freeform, FX Networks, NatGeo Net (73%) TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network, HBO NBCUniversal Cable, Sky ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, ViacomCBS Networks International Discovery Networks U.S., Discovery International Discovery Family (40%)
News, business channels/
ABC News, ABC News Radio CNN, HLN NBCUniversal News Group, Sky News CBS News, CBSN
National sports networks/
ESPN Inc. (80%) Turner Sports, AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (16%), NBA TV NBC Sports Group, Sky Sports, NHL Network (15.6%) CBS Sports Sports Channel (IL) Eurosport (Europe), DSport (India), Play Sports Group (71%, U.K.)
ABC Audio, Disney Music Group, Marvel New Media, Radio Disney Networks WaterTower Music Back Lot Music Comedy Central Records, Nickelodeon Records, Paramount Music Warner Music Group
Publishing Marvel Comics, National Geographic (73%), Disney Publishing Worldwide DC Comics, MAD Magazine Simon & Schuster (Sale pending to TBA) Golf Digest, Golf World; Motor Trend Group (joint-venture)
OTT Disney+ (Star (Hotstar)); Hulu,[a] ESPN+, Marvel Unlimited (Comics) HBO Max, Boomerang, DC Universe Infinite (Comics) Peacock, Now, Sky Go, Xumo Paramount+, Pluto TV, BET+, Noggin, Showtime DAZN (85%[21][22]) Discovery+, GolfTV
Internet Disney Online, Disney Digital Network Fandango (30%), Otter Media Fandango (70%) MTV New Media Deezer Group Nine Media (35%)
Telecommunications AT&T Communications Xfinity, Sky Broadband ICE Group
Video games Disney Games and Interactive Experiences, Marvel Games, Lucasfilm Games Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Rooster Teeth Games Universal Brand Development Paramount Digital Entertainment Archetype Entertainment, Tuque Games
2020 Revenues US$65.39 Billion WarnerMedia: US$30.4 billion


US$28.02 Billion

US$25.29 Billion US$17 billion US$10.6 billion[23] US$4.7 billion[24]


  1. ^ Although Hulu is now fully controlled by Disney after Comcast relinquished its control, Comcast still owned 33% stakes of Hulu as a silent partner with their agreement for Disney to purchase the ownership stakes of Comcast in Hulu by 2024.[20]


Sony (Japan) Bertelsmann (Germany) Vivendi (France) Liberty Global (UK/US/NL) Essel Group (India) CT Corp (Indonesia) Televisa (Mexico) Grupo Globo (Brazil) ABS-CBN Corporation (Philippines) The Times Group (India) PLDT (Philippines)
Movie production Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (Japan) UFA StudioCanal (FR) Lionsgate Films (US, 3.5%) Zee Studios Transinema Pictures Videocine Globo Filmes Star Cinema, Skylight Films, Black Sheep, SCX Mirchi Movies Limited, Junglee Pictures Limited Cignal Entertainment
TV production Sony Pictures Television (US), Syco (US & UK) Fremantle (UK) Red Production Company (UK), TANDEM Productions (GR) All3Media (UK, 50%), Lionsgate Television (US, 3.5%) Essel Vision Productions Estúdios Globo ABS-CBN Entertainment, Dreamscape Entertainment, Star Creatives TV, RCD Narratives, RGE Drama Unit, RSB Scripted Format Metropolitan Media Company Limited
Broadcast TV network GetTV (US) Buzzr (US)
RTL Group (LU)
Canal+ Group Telenet (BE, 58%), Ziggo (NL, 50%), ITV plc (UK, minority), Virgin Media Television (IRL) Zee Media Corporation, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Trans TV, Trans7 Las Estrellas, Canal 5, Canal 9, FOROtv TV Globo ABS-CBN, Kapamilya Channel Times Global Broadcasting and Zoom Entertainment Network TV5
Cable channels Sony Pictures Television Networks SBS-in (JV) Televisa Networks Canais Globo, Globo Internacional Creative Programs, ABS-CBN Global Times Music, Movies Now, Romedy Now Colours, One Screen, PBA Rush, Sari-Sari Channel
News, business channels/
CNews Zee News CNN Indonesia (JV) GloboNews ABS-CBN News, ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo ET Now, Lead India, Mirror Now , Times Now News5, One News, One PH
National sports networks/
Sony ESPN (India) Sports Channel (IL) Canal Sport Ziggo Sport (NL, 50%) Golf Channel Indonesia (JV), Golf+ TDN SporTV ABS-CBN Sports, ABS-CBN Sports+Action One Sports, One Sports (TV channel), One Sports+
Sony Music Group (US), EMI Music Publishing (UK), Sony Music Entertainment Japan (Japan) BMG Zee Music Company Trans Talent Management Som Livre MOR Philippines, Radyo Patrol, Star Music, One Music Zoom, Radio Mirchi Radyo5
Publishing Gruner + Jahr, Penguin Random House (US, UK 53%), Bertelsmann Printing Group Prisma Press, Editis Editorial Televisa, Intermex Editora Globo ABS-CBN Publishing The Times of India, The Economic Times, Navbharat Times, The Illustrated Weekly of India The Philippine Star (51%), BusinessWorld (70%)
OTT FunimationNow


Videoland (Netherlands) ZEE5 Blim Globoplay iWantTFC, MX Player Cignal Play
Internet Dailymotion playwin detik Network Comercio Más, Televisa Digital ABS-CBN Digital Media, CricBuzz, TimesJobs, SimplyMarry, MagicBricks, ZigWheels
Telecommunications Sony Mobile, So-net UPC Broadband (Europe), Virgin Media (UK), Telenet (Belgium) (58%), Vodafone Netherlands (50%) Izzi Telecom ABS-CBN Convergence (68%), Sky Cable Corporation (59.4%) PLDT, Smart, TNT, Sun Cellular, Cignal TV
Video games Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unties Gameloft ABS-CBN Multimedia
2018 Revenues Sony Entertainment: US$15.1 billion[25][26][27] US$20.30 billion €16.02 billion US$12 billion US$110 million Trans Corp: US$207.6 million US$4.81 billion[28] US$4.4 billion US$760 million US$1.5 billion (2016)[29] US$3,381 million

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moglen, Eben, Michael Pertschuck, and Scott Sherman, (1999). "Editorials" (Nation, 269: 18). p. 12. ISSN 0027-8378
  2. ^ "A distinction between Business Groups and Conglomerates:The Limited Liability Effect". SSRN Electronic Journal 01/2009; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.134299. 1 January 2009. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Critics Turn Out To Protest Media Consolidation". The Washington Post and Times-Herald. 1 November 2007. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Stoll, Mary Lyn (June 2006). "Infotainment and the Moral Obligations of the Multimedia Conglomerate". Journal of Business Ethics. 66 (2–3): 253–260. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-5590-2. S2CID 153666046.
  5. ^ Kenix, Linda Jean. "Independent Websites Not So Different from Group-Owned". Newspaper Research Journal. 35 (2).
  6. ^ Shah, Anup. "Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership". Global Issues.
  7. ^ a b Gamson, Joshua; Latteier, Pearl. "Do media monsters devour diversity?". 3 (3). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Diversity in Media Ownership". Free Press. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Global 2000 - The World's Largest Public Companies 2021". Forbes.
  10. ^ Lutz, Ashley (14 June 2012). "These 6 Corporations Control 90% of the Media in America". Business Insider. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Timeline". Moyers on America. PBS. 2006. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Telecommunications Act of 1986". Federal Communications Commission. FCC. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  13. ^ Fisher, Marc. "Sounds Familiar for a Reason". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  14. ^ Hope, Wayne; Myllylahti, Merja. "Financialisation of Media Ownership in New Zealand". New Zealand Sociology. 28 (3).
  15. ^ O'Reilly, Lara. "The 30 Biggest Media Companies in the World". Business Insider.
  16. ^ "Holdings by Industry". Access Industries. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  17. ^ Hipes, Patrick (18 April 2017). "Len Blavatnik's Access Acquires RatPac Entertainment Stake". Deadline.
  18. ^ "Amedia | Access Industries".
  19. ^ "Blavatnik Increases Stake in RGE Media Group". Haaretz. 30 April 2010.
  20. ^ Sherman, Lauren Feiner,Christine Wang,Alex (14 May 2019). "Disney to take full control over Hulu, Comcast has option to sell its stake in 5 years". CNBC. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  21. ^ Williams, Christopher (20 August 2016). "Blavatnik's Perform Group rebuffs tech investors to build 'Netflix for sport'". The Telegraph.
  22. ^ "Perform | Access Industries". Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  23. ^ Discovery, Inc. 2018 10-K (PDF) (Report). p. 39.
  24. ^ "Hasbro's Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding and Acquisitions". Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  25. ^ "Sony Pictures's Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding and Acquisitions". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Sony/ATV's Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding and Acquisitions". Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Sony Music's Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding and Acquisitions". Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. (TV)". Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  29. ^ "The BCCL empire—towering over the competition". Retrieved 27 July 2018.