6 Companies That Control Most Media You Consume

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Nowadays, we consume so much media every day that it’s almost an indispensable part of our lives. From YouTube videos to streaming media platforms, there’s always plenty of content to consume for all ages. However, many of us don’t realize that only a few giant companies actually control most of the content we consume.

So in this post, we will discuss the 6 companies that own the world of media. We’ll talk about their background, their assets, and what companies are under their wing.

Read on and see who’s making your favorite content!

What is Media Consolidation?

Before we dive into the list of media companies that own everything – or at least most of it – let’s first talk about media consolidation.

Media consolidation is when only a few large corporations acquire smaller media companies. Still, don’t let the word ‘small’ fool you. These ‘smaller’ companies are still worth millions. And when consolidated under single ownership, it creates a financial powerhouse that can influence the media we all consume.

Usually, media consolidation occurs through mergers, partnerships, or acquisitions. Whatever it is, there’s no denying that media consolidation gives a select few the power to shape the media landscape. More so, it gives a group of people the power to influence the content we get exposed to.

The 6 Big Media Conglomerates That Control Almost All Media We Consume

Are you aware of the big 6 media companies in the world? If not, then we created this list for you to know who is behind every TV show, movie, news channel, and whatnot that you’ve been watching almost every day.

1. Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation is a global media and technology company that owns companies from various sectors. They include cable television, film production, broadband internet, and a lot more. They are currently based in Pennsylvania.

Moreover, Comcast has established itself as one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. They currently operate multiple subsidiaries and companies.

Companies Comcast Owns

As the number one company on our list, Comcast is undeniably one of the biggest companies that own media outlets here and abroad. They own various TV and film production companies that produced worldwide hits like Jurassic Park, Fast & Furious, and Despicable Me.

The following are some of their notable companies:

  • NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is probably one of the biggest and most popular companies that Comcast owns. On its own, NBCUniversal is already a media and entertainment conglomerate. Under this company are networks like NBC, CNBC, Bravo, E!, and MSNBC.
  • Universal Pictures. Another popular company under Comcast is Universal Pictures. It’s one of the world’s biggest film production and distribution companies to date.
  • Xfinity. This is the brand under Comcast that provides cable television services as well as high-speed internet. Aside from that, Xfinity also offers telephone services for both their residential and commercial customers.
  • Sky. In 2018, Comcast acquired Sky, one of the top telecommunications companies in Europe. Sky offers satellite TV and broadband services here and abroad. Aside from that, we’ve known Sky for its sports coverage and original programming.
  • Fandango. This online platform offers movie ticket purchasing services. Also, Fandango offers movie-related content like trailers, reviews, and other exclusive content.
  • Telemundo. Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo is a Spanish-language broadcast network. It produces various programs like sports, telenovelas, reality shows, and news among others.

Take note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the companies under Comcast. There are a lot more and a single blog post won’t be enough to cover them all.

2. The Walt Disney Company

It doesn’t really need further explaining why The Walt Disney Company is part of this media ownership chart. Millions of children since 1923 – when the company started- have consumed media that Walt Disney produced.

The Walt Disney Company has successfully become one of the most influential and largest companies in the world. This media conglomerate is behind the acclaimed Disneyland parks and hundreds of movies that smashed blockbuster records.

As a backgrounder, The Walt Disney Company was founded by its namesake Walt Disney and his brother Roy. It started out as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in California. Now, this empire has amassed a cult of movies, TV shows, and other content.

Companies that the Walt Disney Company owns

The Walt Disney Company is the one who owns the media companies like the following:

  • Walt Disney Studios. This is the main film production and distribution company of Disney. In fact, Walt Disney Studios is behind other companies like Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and 20th Century Studios. And yes, this is the home of all Disney princesses you can ever think of.
  • Disney Media Networks. Aside from producing your childhood-favorite movies, Disney also ventured into other forms of media. They now own networks like National Geographic, ABC, ESPN, Freeform, and their original Disney Channel.
  • Hulu. While Disney doesn’t fully own Hulu, they are a major stakeholder in this streaming platform. Like Disney+, Hulu hosts a selection of movies, TV shows, and originals.
  • Parks and resorts. Aside from TV and film, the Walt Disney Company is also popular for its theme parks, widely known as Disneyland. Also, the Walt Disney Company also has a cruise line, vacation club, and resorts among others.
  • Consumer products. The Walt Disney Company also has toys, home goods, apparel, digital games, and other consumer products. They hold intellectual properties to all of these.

3. AT&T Inc.

AT&T Inc. is one of the conglomerates that own media companies in the United States and abroad. Initially, AT&T is one of the biggest providers of telephone services. But lately, they have also expanded their reach to various media industry ventures and acquisitions.

Moreover, AT&T Inc. dates back to the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1885. Nowadays they continue to provide the latest communication technologies like the 5G wireless network, fiber-optic broadband, and various streaming services.

Companies that AT&T Inc. owns

AT&T Inc. is the owner of the media companies like the following:

  • Verizon Wireless. This subsidiary of Verizon Communication was acquired by AT&T. To be specific Verizon Wireless offers wireless phone services to about 140 million people across the U.S. and its territories.
  • WarnerMedia. In 2018, AT&T acquired Time Warner, which is now called WarnerMedia. Under this company are platforms like HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Turner Broadcasting System. Warner Bros. Entertainment is the studio behind the Harry Potter Series and DC Comics.
  • Xandr. Xandr is the advertising and analytics arm of AT&T. It offers advanced and technical solutions for marketers and publishers alike.
  • AlienVault. This is a cybersecurity company that AT&T acquired in 2018. AlienVault offers various security solutions worldwide.
  • AppNexus. AT&T acquired AppNexus in 2018, the same year it bought AlientVault. AppNexus is an online advertising company where customers can access a network of advertisers and publishers.

4. ViacomCBS Inc.

ViacomCBS Inc. is one of the companies that own the media’s majority of content. This company is a media conglomerate in its own right, which was formed when Viacom merged with the CBS Corporation in 2019.

Moreover, ViacomCBS Inc. has dabbled in various areas of media like television networks, film production, and publishing.

Overall, ViacomCBS Inc. is the industry bigwig that owns the media companies we know today. From traditional TV production to digital media, this conglomerate has an enormous reach.

Companies that ViacomCBS Inc. owns

ViacomCBS Inc. is part of the big 6 companies since they own the following assets:

  • MTV Networks. The wildly popular MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central are all owned by ViacomCBS. These channels all produce massive content in various genres like music, comedy, and various TV shows.
  • BET Networks. This company includes the BET+ streaming service and BET television network. Both produce content targeting African American audiences.
  • CBS Television Network. CBS is one of the biggest TV networks in the US. It’s famous for TV shows like Survivor, The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS.
  • Paramount Pictures. This is the film production and distribution arm of ViacomCBS. Some of their top movies include the Mission: Impossible series, Indiana Jones, Interstellar, Titanic, The Wolf of Wall Street, and more.
  • Simon & Schuster. Aside from TV production, ViacomCBS Inc used to own this renowned publishing company. However, in 2020, they decided to sell it to a German media company called Bertelsmann for about $2.2 billion.

5. News Corporation

News Corporation is the brainchild of media mogul Robert Murdoch. This company was founded in 1980 and has since become one of the largest conglomerates to ever exist.

However, in 2013, News Corporation was divided into two companies namely the News Corp and 21st Century Fox. As of today, 21st Century Fox is already owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Unlike other big companies that produce TV shows and films, News Corp’s focus is news media, digital real estate services, and publishing. In fact, News Corp now owns several companies under the mentioned genres.

Companies that News Corp owns

As part of the big 6 media companies, News Corp owns the following companies:

  • Dow Jones & Company. This company focuses on news and information services in various sectors. In fact, they are the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, and Barron’s. They provide financial news and analysis, which is very different content than the big five media conglomerates.
  • News UK. This subsidiary handles other news outlets like The Sunday Times, The Times, and The Sun, which are all based in the United Kingdom.
  • HarperCollins Publishers. This is one of the biggest book publishing companies in the entire world. HarperCollins Publishers host various genres and has carried the works of famous authors like Mark Twain. The publishing company has been around since 1817.
  • Move, Inc. This is the operator of various real estate websites like realtor.com, Doorsteps, ListHub, and Top Producer.
  • Foxtel. This is a subscription-based TV service provider in Australia. They host a range of genres like news, sports, and entertainment, which are delivered through satellite or cable TV.
  • REA Group. This real estate advertising company operates in Asia, Australia, And Europe. They offer digital services and operate various property websites.

6. Sony Corporation

Like the Walt Disney Company, Sony Corporation needs to introduction when it comes to their role in our media consumption. This media giant is no doubt one of the biggest media companies in the world.

Sony Corporation is a Japanese conglomerate with a diverse range of services. They dabbled in electronics, gaming, music, film production, and more. Since it was founded in 1946, Sony Corporation has become the dominant player in the media industry.

Interestingly, this corporation was founded by physicists Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka. From its humble beginnings as a radio repair shop in Tokyo, the company is now a multibillion venture.

Companies that the Sony Corporation owns

As one of the largest media companies, Sony Corporation owns these subsidiaries:

  • Sony Pictures Entertainment. This is the film and TV production division of Sony. It produces TV shows, movies, and digital content under various banners like Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Television.
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment. This is the company that develops the world-famous PlayStation video games. They also sell and hold rights to the PlayStation console series and PlayStation Network.
  • Sony Music Entertainment. This music arm of Sony Corporation has many artists signed all over the world. It also operates record labels like RCA Records, Sony Music Publishing, Epic Records, and Columbia Records. Some of their biggest artists are Whitney Houston, P!NK, Meghan Trainor, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, and more.
  • Sony Mobile Communications. Formerly known as Sony Ericsson, this company designs, develops, and markets mobile phones. They also produce related accessories worldwide.
  • Sony Financial Holdings. This is Sony’s subsidiary that operates financial services. For example, Sony Financial Holdings offer non-life insurance, life insurance, banking solutions, and other financial products mostly in Japan.
  • Sony Semiconductor Solutions. For this company, Sony manufactures semiconductor products like digital cameras and other consumer electronics devices.

What Does This Mean for Us Consumers?

Media consolidation surely has a lot of effects on us being consumers. First, it gives us a variety of options when it comes to the media we want to consume. Whether it’s for entertainment, news, or practical services, this parent companies chart definitely has a lot to offer.

However, they also control the narrative when it comes to the media that influence us. Since there are only a few powerful players, most of the content may be profit-driven. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your objectives as a consumer.

Another thing is that there’s an issue of homogenized content. This means that some content they produce may be predictable and may follow a formula. For us, this translates to similar themes, trite storylines, and something that may lack creativity.

Controversially, having few powerful players can also have an impact on biased reporting. The limited viewpoints can be a concern when it comes to fair reporting. But as a wise and discerning media consumer, it’s your – or our – job to filter what’s best for us.

How to Take Control of Your Own Media

While there are few players who control media content, we have the chance as consumers to regain control of our media consumption. Overall, these big players are not really enemies, but rather part of the beautiful media landscape that we enjoy.

To be a smarter media consumer, we always advise these:

  • Diversify Your Sources. You should open your mind to multiple media sources to allow you to compare content. It will also let you diversify the voices and perspectives that you see instead of sticking to one platform.
  • Support Independent Content Creators. If you want a fresh take on content, you should consider supporting independent filmmakers, musicians, authors, or journalists who are with major media companies. By supporting their work, we can contribute to a more diverse media landscape. It’s a win-win situation for all of us, really.
  • Practice critical thinking. You can practice your media literacy skills by being critical of what you’re watching or reading. Always challenge the facts by fact-checking information. This has been said many times, but we think it’s important to repeat it: not everything you see online is real. Be smart and always check who made it, where it’s posted, and how accurate the information is.
  • Take breaks. As they say, anything in excess is unhealthy. This goes the same for our media consumption. It always helps to take a step back to avoid overloading ourselves with information from various sources. Also, it will give you the chance to have a reality check, especially if you consume large amounts of media content.
  • Create your own media. Whether you’re an individual or business owner, creating your own content can help diversify the media landscape. You can also explore the likes of social media advertising, social media design, and social media services to get started.

Conclusion

Media content has taken over our lives in many ways we don’t recognize. From the morning paper down to the late-night shows we binge-watch, all of them have been produced by powerful media companies.

Right now, it’s said that most media is owned by 6 companies. These are the Comcast Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T Inc., ViacomCBS Inc., News Corp, and Sony Corporation. All these big players produce a ton of content that we – across ages – have continuously consumed.

While there’s a never-ending argument over who controls who, we always have a choice as consumers. We can choose what media to consume and what we make of it.

In the end, being critical and observant of your media consumption is key. You should also widen your perspective by exploring independent content creators aside from the big companies we often see. Because in this digital era, adapting is always the best way to go.

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