Media Ownership: Who owns what?

Our media landscape is very, very heavily dominated by just a handful of gigantic media corporations, transnational corporations. The most important ones are Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, the News Corporation, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and Universal-Vivendi, which is about to become a French-owned corporation.

To give you a sense of some of the power that these corporations wield, let me take you through just some of the holdings of the News Corporation, for example. This Australian-based transnational owns Fox Television, 20th Century Fox Films, Harper Collins Publishers. It's also the largest owner of newspapers in the world. Rupert Murdoch has Sky Television, which broadcasts to the world over--and the list goes on and on. This kind of range is unprecedented in the history of all the media industries. We now have all of our culture industries, from movies and TV and radio to music and book publishing and the web, dominated by corporations that are all-powerful in all of those fields. They are all-purpose media corporations.

Mark Crispin Miller, in a Frontline interview for the special program "The Merchants of Cool"

It is estimated that there are more television sets in the United States than there are toilets.

Brad J. Bushman

News

Media Activists Feeling Feisty: Might Try to Block License Renewals (The News & Observer, 04 October 2003) House Votes to Prevent Change in Media Rule (Washington Post, 24 July 2003) FCC Ruling Puts Rivals on the Same Wavelength: Public opinion, political self-interest prompt lawmakers to unite to fight new media rules. (Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2003)

FCC kills free press; hands over Americans' airwaves to people like Rupert Murdoch

"The Whole Thing Reeks of Conflict of Interest. To Begin the Catalog of Corruption Here, You Would Have to do a 24-Hour Marathon." mediareform.network Christy Glaubke on the effects of media concentration on children's programming (CounterSpin, May 23-30 2003) Senators Confident They Can Reverse TV Network Cap (Reuters, 2 June 2003) Analysis: FCC and 'marketplace' of ideas (UPI, 2 June 2003) TV Consolidation May Take 'Local' Out Of Local Newscast: FCC Expected To Enact Looser Ownership Rules (TheDay.com, 2 June 2003) Heard the local news? It may soon be harder to find (LA Times, 1 June 2003) Well Connected: FCC and Industry Maintain Cozy Relationship on Many Levels FCC close to easing media caps: Giant firms want to own more outlets (San Francisco Chronicle, 12 May 2003) FCC Democrats Frustrated on Media Review (AP, 10 May 2003) Habla usted Clear Channel? (Salon.com, 24 April 2003)

If the FCC allows the two biggest Spanish-language media companies in the U.S. to merge, it'll create a media conglomerate that will dwarf all competitors -- and could help GOP-friendly radio titan Clear Channel deliver Hispanic votes for Bush in '04.

U.S. Media Losing Global Respect (Japan Today, 21 April 2003) Salon.com series on the corporate consolidation of the information industries Bob Edwards: The press and freedom: some disturbing trends (20 April 2003)

Kentucky journalism and broadcasting have changed drastically since I left here 33 years ago. Back then, you owned it. Your major newspapers, television and radio stations were owned and operated by Kentuckians. Today home ownership is pretty much confined to small-town weeklies, KET and the public radio stations. Your major daily newspapers are now provincial outposts for absentee corporate owners who expect profit margins of 20 to 30 percent. The managers of your TV stations report to bosses far away who care less about the stations? community service and journalistic exposés than they care about how those stations are contributing to the share price of corporate stock.

US broadcasters' war stance under scrutiny (Media Guardian, 14 April 2003) Murdoch Adds to Empire With Control of DirecTV (New York Times, 10 April 2003) US media dig deep for politicians (Media Guardian, 7 April 2003)

Political donations by US television and radio stations have almost doubled in the last year, research has shown.

And the Bush family's association with many media organisations runs deep and is reflected by the hefty handouts from the likes of NBC network owner General Electric and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, both trenchant supporters of the war.

The effects of media concentration on children's programming

A study conducted by the Oakland-based organization Children Now found that after media concentration was allowed in Los Angeles, the total number of children's shows was cut in half from 88 programs per week in 1998 to just 47 shows in 2003. Most of the declines occurred in stations that were part of duopolies, which strongly suggests a link between media concentration and the diversity and availability of children's programming. In addition, the number of series broadcast on more than one channel almost quadrupled, signifying a real decline in diversity for kids.

Christy Glaubke on the effects of media concentration on children's programming (CounterSpin, May 23-30 2003) Diverse Organizations from Around the Country Testify Against Media Consolidation [Patti Miller of Children Now speaks toward the end of the segment] Media 'duopolies' blamed for drop in children's programming

Resources

Who Owns What: Columbia Journalism Review resource guide Chicago Media Watch Media Resources Who Owns the Media? MediaChannel.org media concentration page

Home of the Media Ownership Chart (printer-friendly version)

Selections from Ben Bagdikian's book "The Media Monopoly" FCC Media Ownership Policy Reexamination Center for research on the effects of television CRETV Super Bowl Facts FAIR Corporate Ownership page

Books

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Last modified: Wed Nov 12 00:59:16 CST 2003