In this inaugural episode of Reality Shock, we discuss the power of mainstream media propaganda and the effect it has on our perception of reality.
For the visual learners out there..
Media Monopolies Breakdown
General Electric is a true behemoth: the conglomerate is the world’s third largest company with market capitalization of nearly $370 billion and annual revenue of $173 billion (2007). The company produces practically everything – from aircraft engine to locomotives to medical devices.
GE’s media holding includes television networks NBC and Telemundo, 27 television stations in the United States and many cable TV networks, including the History Channel, A&E, and Sci Fi Channel. It also owns the popular web-based TV website Hulu.
Update: A&E is now co-owned by The Hearst Corporation and ABC, which in turn is owned by Disney.
Time Warner is the world’s largest media and entertainment company – it owns major operations in film, TV, print, Internet, and telecommunications. Time Warner has an annual revenue of $50.5 billion (2008) – the equivalent of the entire GDP of Luxembourg.
Like cartoons? Time Warner’s got you covered with Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Classic movies? Check (Turner Classic Movies). And who can forget CNN and Headline News? Both are Time Warner properties. (Please note: CW is co-owned by Time Warner and CBS).
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is a behemoth likewise: it is the largest media company in the world by market capitalization ($38 billion). For most people, the conservative news channel Fox comes foremost to mind when asked what they think of Murdoch’s media empire – but the company’s holding is far larger: it includes Asia’s Star TV Network, the National Geographic Channel and even the iconic TV Guide network.
Don’t watch TV? Even if you prefer to browse the Internet, most likely you’ve visited News Corp’s property, which include Hulu (owned in partnership with GE through its subsidiary NBC Universal) and the social networking giant MySpace.
When you think Disney you may think amusemnet parks, but The Walt Disney Company has grown to be one of the world’s largest media and entertainment corporation since its founding as an animation studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923.
The Walt Disney Company owns the ABC television network, with more 200 affiliated stations reaching nearly 100% of all U.S. television market, as well as dozens of niche cable networks. True to its cartoon animation origin, Disney captures its viewers early – it counts millions of young children as its audience with kids channels like the Disney Channel.
CBS (which used to stand for the Columbia Broadcasting System) is not sometimes called the Tiffany Network for nothing: the company is known for its high programming quality. It is currently the most watched television network in the United States, and reached more than 103 million homes in the country.
Both CBS and Viacom (see below) are owned by multi-billionaire Sumner “content is king” Redstone, through his holding company National Amusements.
Viacom stands for “Video and Audio Communication” – and true to that name, the company owns a large number of cable and satellite television networks (the company was split from CBS Corporation in 2005, though both have the same majority owner).
In 2007, Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube for copyright infringement and recently a federal judge granted Viacom’s request for data of all YouTube users. The blogosphere has since called for a boycott of all Viacom properties – so that means no MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon or – gasp – Comedy Central for you.
The following breakdown shows the heavyweights, along with their alternative investments:
Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications owns Outdoor Advertising, Katz Media Group, Premiere Radio Network, New Music Network, and SFX Sports Group.
Clear Channel owns and operates 39 television stations in the United States with more than one television station in Eugene, OR, Harrisburg, PA, Jacksonville, FL, Little Rock, AR, Memphis, TN, Mobile, AL, Monterey, CA, San Antonio, TX, Tulsa, OK, Wichita, KS.
Clear Channel leads in radio broadcast station ownership with 1,207 stations reaching 201 out of 287 markets in the United States.
Cox Communications is best known for its cable, internet services, and telephony services. Cox also owns Val-Pak, 74 radio stations, 9 Television stations, and 43 newspapers in the United States.
Cumulus Media Inc.
At present, Cumulus Media Inc. is only invested in radio stations, reaching nearly 70 of 287 possible markets on 250 stations in the United States.
Disney is an example of media expansion. Founded first as movie production and theme park company, Disney now publishes books, magazines, and financial and medical services information. Disney owns ABC network with 10 television stations and 66 radio stations in the United States.
Partnering with Hearst Corporation and General Electric (GE,) Disney invests in 12 cable stations, 13 broadcast channels outside the USA, and Disney is part owner of German, French, Spanish, Scandinavian, and Japanese television stations.
Disney owns film companies; Buena Vista, Touchstone, Walt Disney, Hollywood Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Miramax Films.
Disney is a financial partner with Sid R. Bass in crude petroleum and natural gas production.
Along with its own internet portal, Disney owns ABC.com, Oscar.com, Mr. Showbiz, all Disney related sites, Family.com, ESPN.com, NBA.com, NASCAR.com, and toysmart.com.
Interactive games and music for Disney come through Buena Vista Music Group, Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records.
Disney also owns Anaheim Sports Inc. and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; 15 resorts and theme parks, and is a partial investor with TiVo.
Emmis Communications Group
Emmis Communications Group currently owns and operates 23 radio stations in the United States and owns monthly magazines including the Atlanta, and Texas Monthly publications.
Entercom Communications currently own and operate 91 radio stations in the United States.
Gannett owns USA Today, USA Weekend, USA Today Sports Weekly, and the USA Today Information Network.
Gannett owns 100 daily newspapers in the USA; the Army Times, Navy Times, Navy Times Marine Corps, Air Force Times, Federal Times, Defense Times, and Military Market.
Gannett also owns:
16 newspapers in the United Kingdom
16 television stations in the USA
Partial interests in the Cincinnati Reds, Classified Ventures Com LLC, (with competitors Knight Ridder, the New York Times Company, Times Mirror, Washington Post Co., and Tribune Co.)
Quarter share in BrassRing Inc. (Human Resources services and software)
Gannett partners with General Electric (GE) on Space.com and with Kight Ridder and Tribune Media on CareerBuilder.com
GE — General Electric
General Electric holds 80 pecent share of NBC Universal with 14 televsion centers (9 of which are in the top 10 market share) and 14 Spanish language television stations, (8 of which are in the top 10 market share)
GE owns CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Mun2TV, Sci-Fi channel, Trio, and USA network.
Universal Studios — parks and resorts
Paxson Communications (1/3 interest)
GE builds aircraft engines, finances commercial investments, manufactures consumer products and industrial systems, as well as sells insurance, medical systems, plastics, power supplies, and transportation monitoring systems.
News Corp. owns FOX Broadcasting Company, 34 television stations (8 cover the USA’s most populous cities) 29 alternative broadcast channels, mostly under the name of “FOX Sports.”
20th Century FOX Stuidos, FOX Searchlight Pictures, FOX Television Studios
One newspaper in the USA, 5 newspapers in the United Kingdom, 20 newspapers in Australia, all of HarperCollins Publishing companies (23 in all) HarperCollins Children’s Book Group (6 in all)
Los Angeles Dodgers, National Rugby League, (partial owners) of New York Rangers and New York Knicks, Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Lakers
In Music and Media:
News America New Media, Broadsystem, Festival Records, Mushroom Records, NDS, News Interactive, News Outdoor, Nursery World, Staples Center
Online: Myspace, the largest social network on the internet
Time Warner Inc.
Time Warner Inc. owns all Time Life Book companies (27 in all)
HBO, CNN (8 CNN networks), Court TV, Time Warner Cable services, Road Runner interactive services, New York 1, Kablevision (Hungary)
On Film and Television:
Warner Bros. (studios, film production and distrbution,) WB Television Network, Hanna Barbera Cartoons, Telepictures Production, Witt – Thomas Productions, Castle Rock Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros pay TV, Warner Bros Theaters, TBS Superstation, Turner Network Television, Turner South, Cartoon Network (3 channels), Turner Classic Movies, TNT, New Line Cinema, Fine Line Features, Turner Original Productions
Time Magazine (8 publications,) Fortune, Life, Sports Illustrated (3 magazines,) People (4 publications,) Entertainment Weekly (2 publications,) and 58 additional monthly or weekly publications.
Time Warner Music, Atlantic Records, Rhino, Elektra, and 49 other music production companies.
Joint ventures with Sony on Columbia House marketing, Music Sound Exchange, Viva, Channel V, Heartland Music,
CompuServe Interactive, AOL and subsidiaries, The Knot Inc, MapQuest.com, Spinner.com, Winamp, DrKoop.com, Legend.
MovieFone, iAmaze, (partial) Amazon.com, Quack.com
CBS — and 16 television stations (6 of which in top 10 marketshare)
UPN 18 television stations,
5 additional television stations
On Cable: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Nick at Night, TV Land, VH1, Spike TV, Comedy Central, CMT, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, Sundance Channel Owns King World Productions
On Radio: Infinity Broadcasting, with 176 radio stations and Westwood One
On Film: Paramount Pictures
In Print: Simon & Schuster (8 publishing companies)
In Retail: Owns Blockbuster video, Paramount Parks, Famous Players Theater, United Cinemas International, Famous Music
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Classics
Phoenix Pictures (partial)
Jim Henson Productions (partial)
Mandalay Entertainment (partial)
Sony Pictures Television
Cinemax Latin America
GAME SHOW NETWORK (50% with Liberty Media)
Movielink (jointly owned with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios)
Sony BMG Music Entertainment (50% with Bertelsmann)
Labels include: Arista Records, BNA Records, Burgundy Records, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, LaFace Records, Legacy Recordings, RCA Records, RCA Victor Group, RLG – Nashville, Sony Classical, Sony Music International, Sony Music Nashville, Sony Wonder, So So Def Records, Sony BMG Masterworks, Sony BMG US Latin, Verity Records
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (joint venture with Michael Jackson)
Music Choice (venture with Time Warner, EMI, Motorola, Microsoft, and several cable companies: Cox, Comcast, Time Warner Cable)
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Sony Corporation of America
Sony DADC Americas
Sony Plaza Public Arcade and Sony Wonder Technology Lab (NYC)
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications
Sony Connect Inc.
Sony Signatures (clothing, accessories, apparel)
Sony Financial Holdings, Inc. (65%)
Psygnosis Limited (Video game developer)
TheStation@sony.com (Online entertainment network)
Wheel of Fortune Online