Most Media Today is Owned By These 6 Companies
Modern Americans have become comfortable with all of the media and entertainment options that exist at their fingertips.
We live in an economy where there are a lot of startup-centric companies for video games, television, and film. They seemingly come out of nowhere, but they always come with something new. Makes you wonder, “what’s next?” However, your options are not exactly limitless. In fact, most of the media that you take in is actually owned by 6 different companies, “The Big 6”.
There are still plenty of independent media outlets, that still doesn’t change the fact that these 6 companies own almost all of the major outlets.
Media in this context refers to a medium that controls the flow of information, such as:
- News Stations
- Publishing Houses
- Internet Utilities
- Video Game Developers
- You get the picture
Now, let’s take some time to go over The Big 6, what they own, and who controls them.
- National Amusements
Chances are, you haven’t heard of National Amusements before. Unless you are involved directly with business/entertainment, this isn’t a well-known name. However, this is a media conglomerate. It owns movie theaters across the globe, almost 1,000 total. That isn’t all.
They have a massive collection of properties, and their reach is enormous for a company that isn’t as well known as its own subsidiaries. To begin our analysis of National Amusements, let’s take a look at one of the biggest modern business names, Sumner Redstone.
Currently, Redstone is National Amusements’ owner, and that comes with ownership of all its properties as well. Redstone retains a majority of the control over the company, despite the fact that the President of the company is his daughter, Shari. This has been a family business, being founded by Michael Redstone (Sumner’s Father). Michael worked hard to make National Amusements a big name, one that was successful and powerful.
While the Redstones won’t publish their exact salaries, experts are able to guess at Sumner’s net worth. Net worth refers to the final value of everything he owns. This is minus any debts outstanding.
In 2017, Sumner’s estimated net worth was around $4.6 Billion. That is, according to Forbes. A good chunk of that value is based on the stakes he owns in National Amusements; the majority of it comes from the other companies that he owns.
Film & TV Assets
Of all the assets of National Amusements, the most famous are the CBS and Viacom properties. Together, these companies make up a huge share of National Amusements’ film and television acquisitions. Surprisingly, that is only just a fraction of what is owned by National Amusements.
As for their print assets, National Amusements owns a modest collection. The most well-known of these assets is Simon and Schuster. It was acquired with the Viacom purchase in 1999.
Along with many assets in entertainment, CBS Games is one of many controlled by National Amusements. Since they acquired CBS Games, it has been rebranded to CBS Interactive. The gaming websites they control will be covered in the next section.
National Amusements doesn’t just control CBS Interactive, they also own a major chunk of sports and video game news in the industry. Brands including:
- 24/7 Sports
On our list, this is probably the most well known. Disney is a conglomerate that has its hands in almost everything. They are major contributors to children’s cinema, sports, and a lot of game titles. Most likely, you have seen more Disney movies than you know. This is because they own so much in the industry that you can’t watch television without seeing something from Disney.
To begin, let’s look at the leader of the company, Bob Iger.
In 2005, Bob Iger was announced as CEO, his predecessor being Michael Eisner. Since being named CEO, Iger has been the head of mergers and acquisitions, expanding Disney with this campaign into a media powerhouse. Their biggest acquisitions have been Marvel and Lucasfilm. Both acquired for $4 billion each.
As of 2020, Bob Iger is worth aroud $690 Million. He makes this kind of money because of the companies he technically oversees.
Film & TV Assets
The first thing we are going to look at is the main track of this conglomerate, Film, and Television. Also, if you consider the fact that they have built theme parks based on their entertainment assets, it goes without saying they are best known for their film and TV properties.
The majority of their print asset reach comes from a mix of Lucasfilm, Marvel, and ESPN. With Marvel and Lucasfilm, they have a controlling interest in the major publishing niches of Science Fiction novels and comic books. With ESPN under their thumb, they also reap the rewards of their sports-focused publishing.
While their reach into video games isn’t as huge as other conglomerates, hey are still mildly competitive with this industry. Disney Interactive Studios’ subsidiary, GameStar, is one of the most well-known developers in the video game industry that Disney has purchased.
That’s right, AT&T is more than just a cell phone service. In fact, they have been around for years, making their mark on the business industry. In 2018, they bought out Time Warner for roughly $80 billion. When AT&T made this purchase, they acquired everything Time Warner-owned. Let’s take a look at what that includes!
Film & TV Assets
When Time Warner was owned by themselves, they acquired an incredible amount of properties in the film and television industry. Their most famous brand being Warner Brothers Animation Studios. Eventually, they began joint ventures with The CW as well as Hulu. They also have a role to play for the ultra-niche programming on the televisions in the medical waiting rooms. Their most notable movie series is their comic book adaptation of Batman.
It goes without saying that the branches of television and film acquired by AT&T extend pretty far. Especially with the success of The CW and Hulu.
While AT&T has become the proud owner of Time Warner, they have also gained control over many big-name assets in the print industry. This includes TIME.
AT&T has developed an impressive portfolio over the years, and with now owning major names like DC Comics, Looney Tunes, and more fictional personalities, it goes without saying that their portfolio includes a list of video game studios.
Of the names they have shares in, NetherRealm is probably the most commonly known. This is the owner and publisher of the popular and controversial Mortal Kombat series. Rocksteady is another video game name that they now own, which is responsible for many Batman games.
When Time Warner was in charge, they acted as an internet service provider. Their main competition was Comcast, now that AT&T has taken charge, the grasp on the internet assets has grown greatly. Under Time Warner, Time Warner Cable was widely profitable, making it a pillar in the success of Time Warner.
With cable television, phone, and internet services being provided by Comcast, they have made an impression in the business world. This company, in 2013, purchased NBC and mostly all of the properties that they owned. While NBC is best known for their television presence, they also hold many stakes in different media companies all over the world. Now, Comcast has become a huge contender in United States media, as well as other media around the world.
Brian L. Roberts is the President of Comcast and has been since 1990. Thanks to his leadership, the company went from annual revenue of only $657 million to $74.5 Billion. Because of this major spike in revenue, Roberts is paid pretty handsomely, with a net worth of $1.7 billion.
While this salary is exclusive to their utility subscriptions, it isn’t the only way this megalith earns their money.
Film & TV Assets
NBC isn’t the only foot in the film and television industry for Comcast, in fact, they also have control over other publishers. Universal Pictures and AwesomenessTV being the major contenders for them. These publishers are an integral part of Comcast’s sustainability and growth. They even have a branch in the religious niche, Big Idea, that plays a continuous part in their success and presence in the media world.
While Comcast owns a lot of different brands in many industries, they have become most well known for their role in the internet industry as a provider. It was the main competitor to Time Warner Cable and is the only ISP for dozens of regions.
Finally, Comcast has played a part in launching a great list of ventures. They have an interest in many different, seemingly-unrelated companies as investors. Also, they are future shareholders of many successful branches.
- News Corp
While News Corp may not be a common household name, its line of Fox companies are. This includes:
- Fox News
- Everything Fox (Pretty Much)
Compared to other conglomerates in media, News Corp controls a massive number of different print products. They generated $33 Billion in revenue in 2012. Their CEO is Rupert Murdoch.
In 2013, News Corp was the subject of a split. However, Murdoch still stands as the head of most of the assets. Murdoch could very well be the most successful entrepreneur from Australia, primarily due to his control of many films, print, music, and television names.
As of 2020, his estimated net worth is $17.8 billion.
Film & TV Assets
Like we stated, News Corp, owns the brand ‘Fox.’ That means they have an obscene amount of control over media outlets through television/film. There isn’t too much more we need to say about News Corp, as they own a great majority of outlets.
Surprisingly, News Corp owns many music assets. It isn’t their most predominant branch. However, they do make money in this industry.
The foundational asset of News Corp is print, owning hundreds of regional, local, and national newspapers all over the world. The Wall Street Journal is the most famous of the bunch. This fits the exact mold of the focus that News Corp has on financial information.
HarperCollins, the owner of Christian-niche Zondervan, makes News Corp a contender in retail books.
This major conglomerate was founded in 1946, making it one of the single oldest companies on our list. It also underwent a CEO change in 2012. The (arguably) most known electronic brands on this planet, Sony, is now overseen by Kazuo Hirai.
That being said, Sony isn’t just an electronics company. Almost every form of media has been touched by Sony, and Hirai has only helped push this company further by keeping it competitive and current. Let’s take a better look at Hirai.
Hirai began at Sony Music Entertainment in 1984 in Japan. He has stayed loyal to the company since that year. His climb up the corporate ladder was swift, up to his rise to CEO. One of the most recent developments for Sony, under Harai’s leadership, was the 666% increase of profit from the turnaround plan that was launched. This happened 4 years after Harai’s rise to CEO.
He is among the youngest leaders of major conglomerates, but that doesn’t mean he can’t handle the job. His vision has earned Harai roughly $5 million a year. That is a pretty modest amount if you compare it to other presidents and CEOs on our list.
As of 2020, his estimated net worth is $40 million.
Film & TV Assets
There are many cinema and television companies that Sony associates themselves with. They do work in distribution and production, as well as pretty much every other phase of the film/television process. The most notable countries that this major Media outlet owner has made their name in is Japan and the U.S.
Their reach into the music industry is more well-known than you may realize. This arm of media scratches the back of their film/television productions. They do also have artists that they publish music for as well.
Sony has an internet service branch known as So-Net. This branch is only offered in Japan, boasting greater speeds than Google Fiber for a lot less of a cost. So-Net is considered to be one of, if not the most, generous ISPs around the world.
Lastly, Sony has an impressive portfolio full of investments. They are able to have control over a lot of the media industry without having to take part in risky projects. A failed project was overseen by one of the subsidiaries it controls only leads to a fraction of financial loss, as compared to them attempting a project on their own.
With successful projects, Sony holds an interest (controlling interest) in the development of the company.
The Big 6 Total Value in Media
To put things in perspective, if the Big 6 was a country, it would equal out to be the 26th wealthiest country around the globe. Their value? $430 Billion combined.
There is likely no end to the reign of these companies, projected to be around for decades, if not centuries. The most likely way we will see one of these companies disappear is if they are bought out by another company of megalithic size. Even the chance of running out of business is hardly possible, but it is still possible.
Often applied to the bigger banks that operate across the world (Example: Bank of America & Citi), these companies are the subject of a phenomenon known as “Too Big To Fail.” In the case of The Big 6, it is still an applicable statement. They are considered profit engines, and if they hit a wall on growth, they will buy out smaller businesses that show the growth they want.
Publish your Own Media
One of the best aspects of the internet is that each company is able to be involved in the media industry. Though, it may not be at the same level as The Big 6. Publishing blogs, articles, guides, graphics, and videos are a great start. Whatever you post on your website, your company’s media is in your hands. While it may not be part of a multi-billion dollar campaign, you can, at the least, control your own publications.
However, something to keep in mind, each of these companies started off small. You may be the next company on this list, maybe you have plans to change the industry. Never count yourself out, and keep striving to make your mark on media.