What’s at Stake?

Given the age of deregulation and neoliberal free market economy that we live in, how can we confront media consolidation? First, we must have an informed citizenry.Who owns the media and what are they doing with their power? The different media owned by a handful of corporations can be charged with responsibility for contributing to general moral deterioration (at least in America), colonizing the minds of our youth, lulling the general public into political superficiality, and suppressing creativity and imagination. What is at stake?  The loss of meaning! What is the meaning of a life dominated by mindless consumerism?

Here’s a quick glance at who owns what:

THE BIG SIX

GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE)

2005 revenues: $157.2 billion
General Electric media-related holdings include television networks NBC Universal and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, 38 television stations in the U.S., and cable networks such as MSNBC, Bravo and the Sci Fi Channel. 

TIME WARNER

2005 revenues: $43.7 billion
Time Warner is the largest media conglomerate in the world, with holdings including The WB Television Network, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, America Online, MapQuest, Moviefone, Netscape, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock, and New Line Cinema, over 150 magazines such as Time, Cooking Light, Marie Claire and People, and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.Time Warner services 17.9% of all cable subscribers, gaining 3.5 million subscribers from its joint aquisition of Adelphia with Comcast. Time Warner now has 14.4 million cable customers (plus 1.5 million held in partnership with Comcast).

WALT DISNEY

2005 revenues: $31.9 billion
The Walt Disney Company owns the ABC Television Network, numerous cable networks including ESPN, The Disney Channel, SOAPnet, A&E and Lifetime, 72 radio and 10 television stations, music and book publishing companies, production companies such as Touchstone, Miramax and Walt Disney Pictures, and six theme parks around the world.

NEWS CORP (Owned by Rupert Murdoch)

2005 revenues: $23.9 billion
News Corporation, one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, owns The Fox Broadcasting Company, television and cable networks such as Fox, National Geographic and FX, 37 television stations, print publications including The New York Post and TVGuide, book publisher HarperCollins, Wall Street Journal, film production companies 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Studios, and the National Rugby League.

CBS

2005 revenues: $14.5 billion
CBS Corporation owns the CBS Television Network, UPN, Showtime, book publisher Simon & Schuster, 41 television stations, Infinity (now CBS) Radio, Inc., and theme parks such as Paramount’s Kings Dominion.

VIACOM

2005 revenues: $9.8 billion
Viacom is still very large, with holdings including Music Television, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment & Publishing.

[Source: Columbia Journalism Review]