The United States has thousands of media companies that bring you your favorite TV, Movies, Books and Websites. But did you know that five giant conglomerates control 90 percent of what most Americans read, watch, and listen to?
It wasn't always like this. Immediately after World War II three out of four U.S. newspapers were independently owned. But thanks to mergers, acquisitions, and other processes just five big companies control almost everything you see.
So meet your corporate overlords and think about them next time you're watching TV or deciding where to get your news from.
#5 Time Warner
The influence Time Warner has on America is astounding. Through its legendary Time Magazine, Fortune Magazine, People Magazine and Sports Illustrated it dominates magazine publishing. It also owns the highly influential CNN news group, the top news channel and website, along with Turner networks and movies, Warner brothers films and a children's empire that includes Cartoon Network, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, Hanna-Barbera, and Castle Rock Entertainment.
But that's not all. It's the third largest cable internet provider in the country and is about to merge with Charter Communications to make it the second largest internet provider, in addition to its vast media empire. It not only controls what you see, it controls how you have access to it.
#4 News Corporation
News Corp is owned by one man: outspoken Billionaire Rupert Murdoch. His empire stretches around the globe, notably in the United Kingdom and Australia, but his real influence is in the United States.
Murdoch controls the powerful Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, Barrons weekly, the London times, far Eastern Economic review, the New York Post, book publisher HarperCollins, the country's largest collection of coupon newspapers and literally hundreds of other city and community newspapers, magazines, and internet properties.
You wouldn't think a European giant would control U.S. media but Bertlesmann controls the books you read and the music you listen to. The German giant owns almost every celebrated book publisher in the United States including the famed Random House, Penguin, Doubleday, Alfred A. Knopf and Everyman's Library. In total it owns over 45 book publishers. It isn't just publishing that makes Bertlesmann powerful: It also owns distribution, through its 35 Book Of The Month clubs, which target nearly every genre from children's literature to country homes and gardens to the scientific american book club. It also owns the powerful BMG music label and distributor.
If you want a book or an album published in America, you must go through Bertlesmann.
Viacom owns so many media and entertainment properties they can't all fit on one page. It operates over 170 networks reaching 700 million subscribers in 160 countries. Among their largest networks are legendary Hollywood film studio Paramount Pictures, the entire CBS network, music channels MTV, BET and VH1, pay TV service Showtime and the influential children's TV network Nickelodeon. The company also owns legendary book publisher Simon & Schuster as well as one of the nations largest outdoor advertising networks, CBS Outdoor. The whole empire is controlled by one man - powerful billionaire Sumner Redstone.
Disney isn't just about Mickey Mouse Cartoons and children's theme parks. It is the nation's most influential media company thanks to its ownership of ABC Television and its control of just about every college and NFL game in the country through ESPN. It also owns a large magazine publishing business, Disney Films, Lucas Films, and a huge number of other media and entertainment enterprises. Disney's empire is specifically targeted at children and young adults so that Americans get the Disney message early and often. Disney is so big that its park in Florida even has its own laws because its registered as a city!