With media oversight being taken for granted in recent years, media concentration has been a trend that’s been rolling along with few signs of stopping. As a result, many of your favorite media entities have been consolidated and all work under the same umbrella corporation. If you think, for example, one channel offers better content than the other, you might be surprised to learn that you’ve stuck with the same company and are just now loyal to another one of its assets.
Having singular enterprises in the media is a rarity these days. There’s isn’t just FOX anymore and there isn’t just NBC. There’s always something behind it and in this list of the world’s top 10 media conglomerates, you’ll be able find out which companies they are:
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA
German media giant Bertelsmann starts our list off with nearly $21 billion in revenue and over $800 million generated in profit. Die flagship media company in Europe makes its name with assets that include the RTL Group, one of the biggest television broadcasters in Europe; Gruner + Jahr, the biggest magazine publisher in Europe; and Random House, the biggest book publisher in the world. Its multifaceted approach to media ownership and great standing in Europe makes it one of two international selections on this list.
Gannett Company Inc.
Having grossed over $5 billion in 2012, and on track to top that number in 2013, Gannett just makes this list at the no. 9 spot. Gannett makes its name in the newspaper business with ownership of USA Today, the country's second largest publication by circulation, and many other publications: such as, the Detroit Free Press and The Indianapolis Star, which makes it the largest publisher in the United States. Gannett also owns over 20 local television stations with various NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates owned in different states. Online, Gannett maintains ownership of Cars.com and a 50% stake in Career Builder.
After spinning off into its own company from Viacom in 2006, CBS has mainly controlled the network television and radio broadcasting side of the business. With the most watched network under its name, CBS of course, the corporation has been able to generate over $14 billion in revenue and $1.3 in profit. CBS owns a 50% stake in the CW network, which it shares with Time Warner, while it fully owns Showtime, CBS Radio and Simon & Schuster, one of the big four of print publishers. CBS also owns its own sports network.
British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc
Hailing from across the pond on the shores of England, this London-based company generates over $10 billion in revenue and over $1.9 billion in profit to make it no. 7 on the list. Sky, which is 40% owned by 21st Century Fox, has over 10 million subscribers in the U.K., making it the largest satellite broadcasting company in the country.
Sky owes a large portion of its success to the large amounts of revenue it has been able to garner with televising rights for the English Premier League with Sky Sports, having valued those rights at $3.5 billion over two years to air 116 live soccer matches. Sky shows many of the U.S.'s most popular shows on its flagship channel, Sky 1, such as “The Simpsons” and “24,” and also offers broadband internet service.
With a relatively modest $11 billion in revenue and nearly $2 billion in profit, Liberty Media makes the list at no. 6 on our list of the media big boys. Its chairmen, John Malone, counted Starz and Encore, which combined had about 50 million subscribers, amongst his biggest assets in 2012, while most of the money that Liberty has been able to make has been garnered through investment in other companies, such as Barnes & Noble (17%) and Sirius-XM (49%). Liberty Media also owns very minor shares of Time Warner and Viacom, while Malone also owns the Atlanta Braves. Starz has since been spun-off into its own company, Starz Inc.
The apple of Rupert Murdoch's eye, News Corp enters our list at the no. 5 spot. News Corp's counts the Fox Network and 20th Century Fox amongst its biggest cash cows, while its news division, the fair and balanced Fox News ranks as the no. 1 cable news network in America. News Corp also owns the gold standard of journalism in the U.S. with Wall Street Journal, the largest paper in America, while it also owns The Times of London. Plans to release a new, 24-hour cable sports network will allow the company to compete with ESPN starting in August when Fox Sports 1 & 2 make their way to American households.
It must be mentioned, though, that News Corporation makes this list on a technicality as, after earning nearly $34 billion in revenue and over $1.1 billion in profit in 2012, the company has split into News Corp and 21st Century Fox, though they are both still owned by Murdoch. News Corporation also owns a 36% stake in Hulu, the biggest piece of the pie that it shares with Comcast/NBA and Disney/ABC, which each owns 32% of the website.
Coming in at no. 4 is the company that, quite literally, owns the music television game, with control over MTV, VH1 and BET. With nearly $15 billion in revenue and over $2 billion in profit, Viacom also has its stake in the movie-making business with Paramount Pictures. The company, in its current form, was created when it split from the old Viacom in 2006 along with the CBS Corporation. Viacom also counts Nickelodeon, Spike and Comedy Central among its assets
Time Warner Inc.
Time Warner actually suffered a loss in revenue of nearly $29 billion in 2012, but still come in at no. 3 having earned over $3.5 billion profit. The company has been downsizing in recent years, having seen America On-Line (AOL) and Time Warner Cable spin off into their own distinctly independent companies in recent, while Time Inc., the division of Time Warner that controls it's magazines such as Sports Illustrated, People, and (you guessed it), Time magazine, is expected to become independent by the end of 2013.
Time Warner will, however, be holding onto its biggest assets such as the Turner networks TBS, TNT, HBO, CNN and Warner Brothers studios, while they also own a $50 million stake in the CW Network. Time Warner also owns the DC Comics series, which allowed them to produce their most recent cinematic success, “Man of Steel,” and compete in the sports network circuit with ownership of NBA TV.
The Walt Disney Disney Company
With revenue topping $42 billion and profits of over $5.5 million, Disney comes in at second amongst our list of biggest media conglomerates. The House of Mouse includes many of today's big boys in its family, the most notable of which are the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), its movie-making division Walt Disney Pictures, as well as Pixar, and the Entertainment Sports and Programming Network, otherwise known as ESPN. Its ownership of Marvel Comics puts it head to head with Time Warner in the battle of super-hero motion pictures, which it won in 2012 as “The Avengers” grossed over $1 billion in box offices. Disney also has a 50% stake in the A&E Networks.
Comcast is your top dog amongst media conglomerates in 2013, as the only company to reach over $6 billion in profit and with nearly 50% more revenue than nearest competitor Walt Disney in 2012, having earned over $62.5 billion. Comcast received its biggest boost in trying to rise to no. 1 in taking over NBC Universal in 2010, which also gave them a significant advantage over Disney who still have yet ascend its own cable news network (ABC News) to a level where it can compete with the likes of Comcast owned MSNBC.
Comcast also does battle with Disney on the movie and theme park with Universal Studios. Comcast will add a significant asset to its NBC Sports division when it begins broadcasting Barclays Premier League matches live in August, a deal they secured with a three-year $240 million dollar offer.
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