the big business of media the growth of media monopolies by alan desantis n.
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The Big Business of Media: The Growth of Media Monopolies By Alan DeSantis. Conglomerations, Buyouts, & Mergers. Prior to 1960 , hundreds of independent, family owned companies produced mass media for the nation Anti-trust laws prohibited these companies from owning too much

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conglomerations buyouts mergers
Conglomerations, Buyouts, & Mergers
  • Prior to 1960, hundreds of independent, family owned companies produced mass media for the nation
    • Anti-trust laws prohibited these companies from owning too much
    • Everyone knew the danger of giving too much power to too few
  • By 1980, it was down to 50
  • In 2002, 7 firms control American media
    • And there are more and more anti-trust laws being overturned everyday
the big 7 and the men that run them
The Big 7 (and the MEN that run them)
  • The Big American 4
    • 1) AOL-Time/Warner—Steve Case
    • 2) News Corp—Rupert Murdoch
    • 3) Disney—Michael Eisner
    • 4) Viacom—Sumner Redstone
  • The Big International 3
    • 5) Sony (Japan)—Sir Howard Stringer
    • 6) Bertelsmann (German)—Thomas Middelhoff
    • 7) V-Universal (French)—Jean-Marie Messier
how did this happen
How did this happen?
  • Question: What happened to Anti-Trust Laws?
  • Answer: The systematic repeal of laws & policies to protect the public from big business and media monopolies
  • Not surprisingly, the Media Industry is a top lobbying contributor to politicians
  • National TV: CBS(purchased for 36 Billion), MTV, UPN(new emerging network),Nickelodeon, Showtime, CMT, TNN, VH1, BET (2.3 billion)
  • Affiliates (#2): 38 Stations in the Biggest Markets!
  • Radio: CBS (21 FM/18 AM), Infinity181 FM(H. Stern), Westwood
  • Film: Paramount Pictures (#2)
  • Video: Blockbuster Video (# 1)
  • Publishing: Simon & Schuster (#1), Scribners
  • Cinema: United Cinemas International (joint w/ U.V.) (big 3)
  • Internet: New Alliance with AOL,, Medscape, SportsLine,, StoreRunner
  • Others: 7 theme parks (including part Universal Studios)
disney capital cities
Disney/Capital Cities
  • TV: ABC, ESPN (all), A & E, Lifetime, History Channels (w/ GE), SoapNet, E! (w/ ATT), Fox Family Channel (5.3 Billion)
  • Affiliates (#5): 24.5% of U.S. households
  • ABC Radio: 42 Stations reaching 13 Million
  • Motion Pictures (#3):Touchstone, Buena Vista, Walt Disney, Miramax
  • Internet: Go Network, Disney, ESPN, ABC News, Toysmart, infoseek,,,
  • Entertainment:Theme Parks (creates 30% of revenue)in FL, CA, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong (with MGM),Mighty Ducks, Cal. Angels, Cruise Line, ESPN Zones
  • Others: Crude Petroleum, Natural Gas, Berkshire Hathaway Inc (insurance), State Farm, and 700 Disney retail stores
new corp aka fox
New Corp. (AKA Fox)
  • Reaches 3 billion people--2/3 of world
  • TV: 22 Different Channels (most in US) including Fox (#3), fx, Fox Sports, Fox News, and Fox Sports (specialized focal areas); Fox Production--#1 (selling show to other networks)
  • Affiliates (#1): 32 in Biggest Cities
  • Satellites: DirecTV (#1 in America), Europe, US, Asia, & Latin America
  • Movies: 20th Century (#1)
  • Newspapers (#3): 132--London Times, NY Post, The Sun (UK)
  • Magazines (#2): TV Guide (#1) and 24 Others
  • Books: Harper Collins (#5)
  • Internet: Healtheon/Web MD (1 billion $)
  • Sports: Los Angels Dodgers (#2), 20% of NY Knicks & Rangers, 40% of LA Kings, 10% of Lakers
aol time warner turner 1
AOL-Time-Warner-Turner #1
  • Cable Entertainment: WB, Sega, E!, CNN, HBO, Comedy Central, Cinemax, TBS, Cartoon Network, WB(new emerging network)
  • Cable Companies (the pipes): Time Warner Cable w/ 13 million customers (2nd Largest)
  • Books: Time-Life Publishing (# 2), BOMC
  • Studios: Warner Brothers, Castle Rock, MGM, New Line Cinema (total #1)
  • Vault (#1): 6,000 Films, 25,000 TV Programs, Cartoons!
  • Music (#2): Warner/Chappel, Atlantic, Elecktra, Reprise, (new)= EMI, Capitol, Virgin, Columbia House (50% w/ Sony)
  • Programming: ER, Friends, Buffy, Sopranos, etc.
aol time warner turner
  • Mags (#1): Time, Fortune, Life, SI, People, Money
  • Others: PrimeStar, Six Flags, Atari, Hasbro, DC Comics, Braves, Hawks, Retail Stores, Hanna-Barbera, 1,000 oversea theaters, 100 cable and TV stations outside US
  • Internet (#1): AOL w/ 20 million customers (a new user every 3.5 seconds),Netscape, Compuserve, MovieFone, Instant Messenger--Worth about 200 Billion
  • Joint Ventures: Hughes Electronics, 3 Com, Kodak, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard
general electric 1 forbes for overall holdings
General Electric (#1 Forbes for Overall Holdings)
  • Entertainment: NBC, CNBC, Bravo, AMC, History Channel, Independent Film, Prime, Prism, Romance Classics, MS-NBC(joint venture with Gates), Paxson Network, Much Music
  • Affiliates (#1): 13 NBC, 72 Paxson Stations
  • Industrial: Transportation, Nuclear Reactors, Satellites, Long Distance, Motors, Plastics, Medical Services, Lighting, Insurance, Aircraft
  • Can you say, “Conflict of Interest!”
vivendi universal french
Vivendi Universal (French)
  • Music (28% of market: #1):A&M, Decca, Geffen, Interscope, Island, Def Jam, MCA, Mercury, Motown, Universal, Verve
  • Education Publishing (#2): Houghton Mifflin
  • Filmed EntertainmentUniversal Pictures(#3), Home Video, TV & Network Groups
  • TV:
    • Universal TV: 25,000 TV episodes to over 180 countries
    • Canal+ TV : Europe’s #1 pay-TV & #2 TV catalog
  • Havas Publishing: 60 publishing houses (80 Mill books and 40 Mill CD ROMs per year)
  • Recreation: Universal Studios in Orlando, Japan, Hollywood, Barcelona, Beijing
  • Stores: Universal Studio Stores, Spencer Gifts
sony japan
Sony (Japan)
  • Electronics: Media technology (#1 in home entertainment)
  • Music: CBS, Columbia(50% with T-W), Sony, & Epic Records (#3)
  • TV: Cinemax Latin, E! Latin, HBO (Ole, Brazil, Asia, Poland), Showtime Austrailia
  • Movies: Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, & Sony Pictures
  • Theaters: SonyTheaters & Loews Cineplex (#1), IMAX Theaters
  • Games: 25% of video game market (#1), Playstation (#1)
bertelsmann german
  • Work force: 44,000 workers in 25 countries
  • TV: 19 European TV (#1 internationally)
  • Radio: 23 Radio(#1 internationally)
  • Magazines: Family Circle, Fitness, McCall’s, Parents, plus 100 international magazines (#1)
  • Books: Bantam, Random House, Dell, Doubleday, Knopf, (joint venture)
    • 169 books on NYT best-sellers list; 22 books at #1
  • Music: RCA, Arista Music, Windham Hill, & BMG
  • Computers: 50% of AOL Europe, Germany, France and Lycos Europe
  • *New Deal with Napster (50 million)
what the breakdown looks like
What the Breakdown Looks Like:
  • 3 publishers have most of the nation’s book sales
    • Viacom, T-W, Bertelsmann
  • 2 major companies own most magazine sales
    • T-W, News Corp
  • 4 major companies own most music sales
    • Universal, Sony, T-W, Bertelsmann
  • 5 companies have most of the TV audience
    • Disney, T-W, GE, Viacom, News Corp
  • 6 major studios produce most movies
    • Disney, Viacom, News Corp, T-W, Universal, Sony
  • 5 companies own most of the local affiliates
    • News Corp,Viacom,GE,Disney, T-W
  • 5 companies own the major TV news stations
    • Disney, T-W, GE, Viacom, News Corp
more bad news the myth of internet diversification
More Bad News:The Myth of Internet Diversification
  • Don’t think the internet is giving us a freer and more open market for greater choices
  • Over 50% of all the internet hits come from only 4 sites:
    • AOL Time Warner
    • Microsoft
    • Lycos
    • Yahoo
  • With Viacom, New Corp(Fox), & Disney also on the top-ten list
more bad news who s in bed with whom
More Bad News:Who’s in Bed with Whom?
  • Time Warner AOL
    • Viacom, Sony, ATT, Microsoft, News Corp, Bertelsmann (AOL Europe), Disney, Newhouse
  • NBC/GE
    • Walt Disney, ATT (3 different ventures), Dow Jones, Hearst, Rainbow Media (Knicks, Rangers, Romance, Bravo, Independent Film, MuchMusic), Paul Allen (Micro Soft)
  • Viacom
    • Universal/Seagram (A&M Records, Island Def Jam, Motown, Universal Pictures and Studios), Time Warner, Liberty Media (ATT)
who s in bed with whom
Who’s in Bed with Whom?
  • AT&T (24 Million Cable Customers #1)
    • News Corp & GE (PrimeStar ), New Corp (20% of Fox News), Time Warner (10% of company), GE (10% of company), Rainbow Media
  • News Corp
    • ATT, Rainbow, Time Warner, New York Times, Rainbow Media, Newhouse
so what s the problem
So What’s The Problem?
  • 1) No true competition in the industry
    • Competition pushes business to be better and more diverse (See what others are not doing, and do it better)
      • Reach audiences that are being forgotten; Be more innovative; Become cheaper; Supply better service; Give us less commercials; Produce better and smarter shows
    • With joint ventures, however, there are not 8 separate corporations battling each other for quality. There are 8 inter-locked corporations that depend on each other’s mutual success
    • In reality, do we have one big Monolith?
so what s the problem1
So What’s The Problem?
  • 2) A closed system
    • When there were hundreds of small companies, it took far less money & influence to “start up” a new business and to be competitive
      • For example, how can small businesses compete with Walmart, Krogers, Gap, Walden Books, or McDonalds?
    • The last 60 years has produced virtually no new players
      • Spielberg & Microsoft’s Dreamworks
      • And even they are getting beat up
    • How do smaller, independent individuals compete with Billion $ Corporations?
so what s the problem2
So What’s The Problem?
  • 3) Media has lost its adversarial/protective role
    • The news has been traditionally a watchdog for the American public (make sure the bad guys get caught)
      • They made sure Big Business and Government are clean
    • They have become:
      • 1) The biggest of Big Businesses with major holdings in nuclear energy, weapons, chemicals, overseas labor, insurance, computers, health care, etc
      • 2) Lobbying and campaign partners with Washington
        • The richest one-quarter of 1 % of Americans (this would include the big 8) make 80% of campaign contributions
    • They Control:Today, Meet the Press, Dateline, 20/20, Prime Time, Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, Headline News, CNNfn, 60 Minutes, Morning News, Face the Nation, 48 Hours, and Rather/Jennings/Brokaw Nightly News
    • Think about all the stories you’ll never hear about!
so what s the problem3
So What’s The Problem?
  • 4) Profit is now the only criteria for success
    • Before the business of media, people were dedicated to “truth” and “responsible journalism”
      • Like education, there was not a lot of money in the job
    • Today we have businesses dedicated to profit
      • The Big 8 traded on NYSE and NASDAQ
    • A) News agencies focus on entertainment value
      • What sells (sex, violence, and graphic photography)
    • B) Bold, creative shows/approaches are discouraged
      • Want the biggest share possible (think about today’s movies)
    • C) Expensive shows/stories are not cost effective
      • Give them the cheap stuff--No more “Watergate Investigations”
so what s the problem4
So What’s The Problem?
  • 5) 8 CEOs control the nation’s thoughts
    • If you control the media you control the minds of the people (Hitler knew it)
    • The media is the most effective teacher there is!
    • Media have the power to:
    • A) Keep us in the dark by not reporting certain issues
      • NBC’s Nuclear Power, Viacom’s Advertising, News Corp’s Labor Practices, or the Big 8’s hold on the market!!
    • B) Tell us who to love or hate
      • Love: White, rich, beautiful, thin, materialists
      • Hate: Other cultures, minorities, Southerners, poor, uneducated
    • C) Influence elections through favorable coverage
      • The big-business candidate
possible solutions
Possible Solutions
  • 1) Enforce 1934 FCC Guidelines
    • When the FCC was formed, companies who wanted to use “public airwaves” had to supply a public service
      • Then 40% of time (on radio) was commercial free aimed at “public service” & education
    • If not, their license would be revoked
    • By 1970, all such control was lost
      • “Saturday Morning Ghetto” & “Budweiser PSAs”
possible solutions1
Possible Solutions
  • 2) Break up the media monopolies (anti-trust laws)
    • A company can only own one of any medium
    • The rest must be sold off (reverse the damage)
    • This would give many smaller firms and individuals an opportunity to participate
  • 3) Have the Government and/or the Media Giants subsidize viable non-profit media
    • This would give us many more “public stations” to:
      • 1) serve the public interest
      • 2) aid democracy
      • 3) further education
    • Their goal would be edification, not profit!
possible solutions2
Possible Solutions
  • 4) Implement campaign finance reform
    • The richest one-quarter of 1 % of Americans (this would include the big 8) make 80% of campaign contributions
    • This guarantees Washington’s alliance with the rich
      • And your powerlessness in politics since you don’t give
    • With this level of influence, the Big 8 (and other rich corporations) guarantee that THEIR best interests will be served
      • Favorable tax laws, overturned Anti-Trust laws, etc.
    • Question: Do our Representatives vote in our best interest or in the interest of their million $ contributors?
      • Remember, a successful campaign costs 4 to 10 Million $
possible solutions3
Possible Solutions
  • 5) Use your vote
    • Vote for local and national candidates that support putting media back in the hands of the people
  • 6) Get politically & socially involved
  • 7) Express your anger/frustration to your representatives
    • FCC, 445, 12th St. Washington, DC 20554
  • 8) Do Nothing
    • Let the Giants alone!