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A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a
company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common ...
that owns numerous companies involved in
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets. Broa ...
enterprises, such as
television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a te ...

television
,
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...

radio
,
publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works, such as books, newspapers, and mag ...
,
motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface ...

motion pictures
,
theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its stru ...
, or the
Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' t ...

Internet
. According to the magazine ''
The Nation ''The Nation'' is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, covering progressive political and cultural news, opinion, and analysis. It was founded on July 6, 1865, as a successor to William Lloyd Garrison's '' The ...
'', "Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world."


Terminology

A
conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a production crew and musical group founded by Busta Rhymes ** Con ...
is a large company composed of a number of smaller companies (
subsidiaries A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company, parent, or holding company. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liabil ...
) engaged in generally unrelated businesses. 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 prospective investors in comparison with similar companies that are traded publicly and privately. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however, it has not yet replaced the more traditional term.


Criticism

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 Jesse Louis Jackson ( né Burns; born October 8, 1941) is an American political activist, Baptist Baptists form a major branch of Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a mo ...

Jesse Jackson
spoke out against consolidation of the media. This can be seen in the
news News is information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. The concept of ''information'' ...

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 In journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as citizen journalists who gather and pub ...
) at the expense of the coverage of serious issues. They are also accused of being a leading force behind the standardization of
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
(see
globalization Globalization, or globalisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. Globalization has accelerated since the 18th century due to a ...

globalization
,
Americanization Americanization is the influence American culture and business has on other countries outside the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous U ...
) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being
bias Bias is a disproportionate weight ''in favor of'' or ''against'' an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, ...
ed toward
special interests Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
of the owners. Because there are fewer independent media, there is less diversity in news and entertainment 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 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. 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.


Examples by country

In the 2021
Forbes Global 2000 The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2,000 public companies in the world by ''Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family (publishers), Forbes fami ...
list,
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly registered as Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T merger in 2001, the parent company was Comcast Holdings Corporation. Comcast Holdings Corporation now refers to a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, not the parent com ...
was America's largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, with
ViacomCBS ViacomCBS Inc. is an American diversified multinational media conglomerate, mass media conglomerate formed through the 2019 merger of CBS and Viacom, merger of the CBS Corporation, second incarnation of CBS Corporation and the Viacom (2005–201 ...

ViacomCBS
(controlled by
National Amusements National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned theater company and mass media holding company based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Maryland. It is the parent company of ViacomCBS. History The company was founded by ...

National Amusements
through supervoting shares),
The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It ...
, &
Discovery, Inc. Discovery, Inc. is an American multinational mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this co ...
completing the top four. In 1984, fifty independent media companies owned the majority of media interests within the United States. By 2011, 90% of the United States's media was controlled by six media conglomerates: GE/Comcast (NBC, Universal), News Corp (Fox News, ''Wall Street Journal'', ''New York Post''), Disney (ABC, ESPN, Pixar), Viacom (MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures), Time Warner (CNN, HBO, Warner Bros.), and CBS (Showtime, NFL.com). 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 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable across the ...
, 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 The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first significant overhaul of telecommunications law in more than sixty years, amending the Communications Act of 1934. The Act, signed by President Bill Clinton, represented a major change in American tel ...
. Signed by President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton (''Birth name, né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to his Presidency of Bill Clinton, presid ...

Bill Clinton
on 8 February 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 iHeartMedia, Inc., formerly CC Media Holdings, Inc., is an American mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologi ...
grew from 40 stations to 1200 stations, in all 50 states, while
ViacomViacom, an acronym of Video & Audio Communications, may refer to: * Viacom (1952–2006) The first incarnation of Viacom Inc. (derived from "Video & Audio Communications") was an American media conglomerate. It began as CBS Television Film Sales ...
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 Minot ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Ward County, North Dakota, Ward County, North Dakota, United States, in the state's north-central region. It is most widely known for the Minot Air Force Base, Air Force base approximately north of th ...
, the concerns regarding media consolidation is realized. On 18 January 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 iHeartMedia, Inc., formerly CC Media Holdings, Inc., is an American mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologi ...
. 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. Like the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, 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 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC; french: Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes, links=) is a public organization in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of ...
, the
Australian Communications and Media Authority The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is an Government of Australia, Australian Government statutory authority within the Department of Communications and the Arts, Communications portfolio. ACMA was formed on 1 July 2005 with ...
, the Philippine
National Telecommunications Commission The Philippines' National Telecommunications Commission ( fil, Pambansang Komisyon sa Telekomunikasyon}), abbreviated as NTC, is an attached agency of the Department of Information and Communications Technology responsible for the supervision, adj ...
, and New Zealand's
Broadcasting Standards Authority The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA; mi, Te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho) is a New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and ...
. 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,
Hubert Burda Media Hubert Burda Media Holding is a German media group with headquarters in Offenburg. It originated as a small printing business, founded by Franz Burda Snr in Philippsburg, in 1903. In 1986, the corporate group was divided up between Franz Jn ...

Hubert Burda Media
,
Fuji Media Holdings JOCX-DTV, branded as and colloquially known as CX, is a Japanese television station based in Odaiba, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Owned-and-operated station, Owned and operated by the it is the flagship station of the Fuji News Network (FNN) and t ...

Fuji Media Holdings
,
ITV ITV or iTV may refer to: ITV *Independent Television (ITV), a British television network, consisting of: **ITV (TV network), a free-to-air national commercial television network covering the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands ...
, ProSiebenSat.1,
Mediaset Mediaset S.p.A., also known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian language, Italian, is an Italian-based mass media company which is the largest commercial broadcasting, commercial broadcaster in the country. Founded in 1987 by former Italian prime minis ...
,
Axel Springer Axel Cäsar Springer (2 May 1912 – 22 September 1985) was a West German publisher, founder in 1946 of what is now Axel Springer SE, the largest media publishing firm in Europe. By the early 1960s his print titles dominated the West German daily ...
,
JCDecaux JCDecaux Group (JCDecaux SA, ) is a multinational corporation based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, France, known for its bus-stop advertising systems, billboards, Bicycle sharing system, public bicycle rental systems, and street furniture. It is ...
,
China Central Television China Central Television (CCTV) is a Chinese state-owned broadcaster controlled by the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13 ...
,
Alibaba Group Alibaba Group Holding Limited, also known as Alibaba Group and Alibaba.com, is a Chinese Multinational corporation, multinational technology company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology. Founded on 28 June 1999 in Hang ...
,
ABS-CBN Corporation ABS-CBN Corporation is a Media in the Philippines, Filipino Media conglomerate, media and entertainment group based in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It is the Philippines' largest entertainment and media conglomerate in terms of revenue, ...
, GMA Network, Inc., TV5 Network, Inc.,
Asahi Shimbun Company is one of the five national newspapers in Japan. Its circulation, which was 5.16 million for its morning edition and 1.55 million for its evening edition as of June 2020, was second behind that of ''Yomiuri Shimbun'' and subsequently is the se ...
,
Grupo Globo Grupo Globo (English: Globo Group), also known as Organizações Globo ( en, Globo Organization), is the largest mass media group of Latin America, founded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1925 by Irineu Marinho. It also formerly owned companies in ...
,
Baidu Baidu, Inc. (, meaning "a hundred times" or "a hundred degrees", anglicized ) is a Chinese multinational technology company "Technology", in this context, has come to mean primarily electronics-based technology. This can include, for example ...
, and
Bertelsmann Bertelsmann is a German private multinational conglomerate corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private ...
.


United States

Notes:


International


See also

* Media imperialism *
Media proprietor A media proprietor, media mogul or media tycoon refers to a successful entrepreneur or businessperson who controls, through personal ownership or via a dominant position in any media related company or enterprise, media consumed by many individual ...
*
Multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporation, corporate organization that owns and controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Control is considered an important aspect of an MNC, to distingui ...
*
Lists of corporate assets A ''list'' is any enumeration An enumeration is a complete, ordered listing of all the items in a collection. The term is commonly used in mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity ( ...


References

{{reflist Concentration of media ownership Types of business entity Mass media companies