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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."
Starting in 2007, it has been questioned if media companies actually are related.[vague] 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 whom?] in comparison with similar companies[clarification needed]. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however, it has not yet replaced the more traditional term.
In the 2018 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast was America's largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, CBS Corporation and Viacom (both are controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares) completing the top five.
In 1984, fifty independent media companies owned the majority of media interests within the United States. As of 2019, 90% of the United States's media is controlled by five media conglomerates: Comcast (via NBCUniversal), Disney, Viacom & CBS (both controlled by National Amusements), and AT&T (via WarnerMedia).
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.
The industry continued to deregulate with enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Signed by President Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996, it was considered by the FCC to be the "first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years." 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.
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, the concerns regarding media consolidation is realized. On January 18, 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.
Between the years 2002 and 2006, the conglomerates expanded. In 2005, top companies Verizon and MCI Inc. received approval to combine, while SBC acquired AT&T Corporation, respectively, giving the nation's premier communication company a global reach unmatched by any other.
Like the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand 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, ProSiebanSat.1, Hubert Burda Meda, Fuji Media Holdings, ITV, Mediaset, Axel Springer, JCDecaux, China Central Television, ABS-CBN Corporation, GMA Network, Inc., Asahi Shimbun Company, Grupo Globo, Baidu, and Bertelsmann.
|Comcast||Walt Disney Co.||Viacom||CBS Corporation||AT&T||Access Industries||Discovery, Inc.||Hasbro|
|Movie production||Universal Filmed Entertainment Group||Walt Disney Studios, UTV Motion Pictures (India)||Paramount Motion Pictures Group||CBS Films||Warner Bros. Pictures Group||AI Film (UK), RatPac-Dune Entertainment (controlling stake), Access Entertainment (US)||Lionsgate Films (3%)||Allspark Pictures|
|TV production||Universal Television, Sky Studios, Universal Content Productions, DWA Television||Disney TV Studios, It's a Laugh Productions, Disney TV Animation, FX Productions, Freeform Productions, Marvel TV||Paramount Television||CBS Television Studios||WB TV Group, WB Animation, WBITVP, Cartoon Network Studios||Amedia (majority stake) (RU)||All3Media (50%), Lionsgate Television (3%)||Allspark, Allspark Animation (US); Boulder Media (IE)|
|Broadcast TV network||NBC, Cozi TV, Sky,
|ABC, LWN (US); Super RTL, RTL II (50% DE)||CBS, The CW (50%), Decades (JV)||Chilevision, The CW (50%)||R.G.E. Group (33%) (IL)||Discovery Channel & sister networks (US/CA); Discovery EMEA, Discovery Asia-Pacific, Discovery Latin America|
|Cable channels||NBCUniversal Cable, Sky||Disney Channels Worldwide, UTV network, A&E Networks (50%), Fox Networks Group, Freeform, FX Networks, NatGeo Networks (73%)||Viacom Media Networks||Pop, Showtime Networks||TBS, TNT, TruTV, HBO||Discovery Family (40%)|
|News, business channels/
|NBCUniversal News Group, Sky News||ABC News, ABC News Radio||CBS News, CBSN||CNN, HLN|
|National sports networks/
|NBC Sports Group, Sky Sports, NHL Network (15.6%)||ESPN Inc. (80%)||CBS Sports||Turner Sports, AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (16%), NBA TV||Sports Channel (IL)||Eurosport (Europe), DSport (India)|
|Back Lot Music||Disney Music Group, Fox Music||Comedy Central Records, Nick Records||CBS Records||WaterTower Music||Warner Music Group|
|Publishing||Marvel Comics, National Geographic (73%), Disney Publishing Worldwide||Simon & Schuster||DC Comics, MAD Magazine||Golf Digest, Golf World; Motor Trend Group (joint-venture)|
|OTT||Peacock, Now TV, Sky Go||Disney+, Hulu[a], ESPN+, Hotstar, Marvel Unlimited||Pluto TV, BET+, Noggin||CBS All Access, Showtime||HBO Max, AT&T TV Now, HBO Now, DC Universe, Boomerang, Crunchyroll,||DAZN (85%)||GolfTV|
|Internet||Fandango (70%)||Disney Online, Disney Digital Network||MTV New Media||CNET||Fandango (30%), Otter Media||Deezer||Group Nine Media (35%)|
|Telecommunications||Xfinity, Sky Broadband||AT&T Communications||ICE Group|
|Video games||Universal Brand Development||Disney Games and Interactive Experiences, LucasArts||Paramount Digital Entertainment||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Rooster Teeth Games|
|2018 Revenues||NBCUniversal: US$33 billion
||US$59.4 billion ||US$13 billion ||US$14.5 billion ||WarnerMedia: US$31.5 billion ||US$17 billion||US$10.6 billion||US$4.7 billion |
|Sony (Japan)||Bertelsmann (Germany)||Vivendi (France)||Liberty Global (UK/US/NL)||CT Corp (Indonesia)||Televisa (Mexico)||Grupo Globo (Brazil)||ABS-CBN (Philippines)||The Times Group (India)|
|Movie production studio||Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (Japan)||UFA||Eagle Rock Entertainment (UK), StudioCanal (FR), Polygram (US)||Lionsgate Films (US, 3.5%)||Transinema Pictures||Videocine||Globo Filmes||Star Cinema, Skylight Films||Mirchi Movies Limited, Junglee Pictures Limited|
|TV production||Sony Pictures Television (US), Syco (US & UK)||Fremantle (UK)||Banijay Entertainment, Zodiak Media (26.2%)||All3Media (UK, 50%), Lionsgate Television (US, 3.5%)||Estúdios Globo||ABS-CBN Entertainment, Dreamscape Entertainment, Star Creatives TV||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)||Trans TV, Trans7||Canal de las Estrellas, Canal 5, Gala TV, FOROtv||Rede Globo, Globosat (Brazil), Globo TV International||ABS-CBN||Times Global Broadcasting and Zoom Entertainment Network|
|Cable channels||Sony Pictures Television Networks||Televisa Networks||Creative Programs, ABS-CBN Global||Times Music, Movies Now, Romedy Now|
|News, business channels/
|CNews||CNN Indonesia (JV)||GloboNews||ABS-CBN News, ABS-CBN News Channel||ET Now, Lead India, Mirror Now, Times Now|
|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|
|Sony Music Entertainment (US), Sony/ATV Music Publishing (US), EMI Music Publishing (UK, 38%), Sony Music Entertainment Japan (Japan)||BMG||Universal Music Group||SM Entertainment Indonesia, Trans Talent Management||Som Livre||Star Music||Zoom, Radio Mirchi|
|Publishing||Gruner + Jahr, Penguin Random House (US, UK 53%), Bertelsmann Printing Group||Editis||Editorial Televisa, Intermex||Editora Globo||ABS-CBN Publishing||The Times of India, The Economic Times, Navbharat Times, The Illustrated Weekly of India|
|OTT||Crackle, PlayStation Vue, FunimationNow||Blim||iWant, Sky On Demand||Gaana.com|
|Internet||Dailymotion||detik Network||Comercio Más, Televisa Digital||Globo.com||ABS-CBN Digital Media||BoxTV.com, CricBuzz, TimesJobs, SimplyMarry, MagicBricks, ZigWheels|
|Telecommunications||Sony Mobile, So-net||UPC Broadband (Europe), Virgin Media (UK), Telenet (Belgium) (58%), Vodafone Netherlands (50%)||ABS-CBN Convergence (68%), Sky Cable Corporation (59.4%)|
|Video games||Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unties||Gameloft||ABS-CBN Multimedia|
|2018 Revenues||Sony Entertainment: US$15.1 billion||US$20.30 billion||EUR14 billion||US$12 billion||Trans Corp: US$207.6 million||US$4.81 billion ||US$4.4 billion||US$760 million||US$1.5 billion (2016) |
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. 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. These practices are also suspected of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism) 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,Americanization) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being biased toward special interests of the owners.
Because these conglomerates have so much power and influence, critics[who?] bring up the question of whether that amount of power is justifiable. It can and is easily abused. Some[who?] wonder if it's better to lessen the amount of conglomerates to reduce the likeliness of unfair practices.
There is also criticism[weasel words] that the concentration of media ownership reduces diversity in both ownership and programming of TV shows and radio programs. Because there are fewer independent media, there is less diversity in news and entertainment[ambiguous] and therefore less competition. This can result in the reduction of different points of view as well as vocalization about different issues. 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?]. Women and minorities also have less ownership of media. 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.