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 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? • 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
Viacom • 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, Jobs.com, Medscape Marketwatch.com, SportsLine, Wrenchead.com, StoreRunner • Others: 7 theme parks (including part Universal Studios)
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, NASCAR.com, NFL.com, NBA.com • 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) • 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 • 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) • 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) • 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) • 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, Barnesandnoble.com (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: • 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 • 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? • 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? • 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? • 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 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 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 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 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 • 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 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 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 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 • www.commoncause.org • www.mediareform.net • www.moveon.org • 7) Express your anger/frustration to your representatives • FCC, 445, 12th St. Washington, DC 20554 • email@example.com • Jim_bunning@bunning.senate.gov • 8) Do Nothing • Let the Giants alone!