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The Big Business of Media: The Growth of Media Monopolies By Alan DeSantis


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Title: The Big Business of Media: The Growth of Media Monopolies By Alan DeSantis

The Big Business of MediaThe Growth of Media
MonopoliesBy Alan DeSantis
Conglomerations, Buyouts, Mergers
  • Prior to 1960, hundreds of independent, family
    owned companies produced mass media for the
  • 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/WarnerSteve Case
  • 2) News CorpRupert Murdoch
  • 3) DisneyMichael Eisner
  • 4) ViacomSumner 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
  • Not surprisingly, the Media Industry is a top
    lobbying contributor to politicians

The Big American 4
  • 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
  • Radio CBS (21 FM/18 AM), Infinity 181 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

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)
  • 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,
  • Music (2) Warner/Chappel, Atlantic, Elecktra,
    Reprise, (new) EMI, Capitol, Virgin, Columbia
    House (50 w/ Sony)
  • Programming ER, Friends, Buffy, Sopranos, etc.

  • Mags (1) Time, Fortune, Life, SI, People,
  • 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
  • Joint Ventures Hughes Electronics, 3 Com, Kodak,
    General Motors, Hewlett-Packard

The Strange 5th Big Brother in the GameGeneral
General Electric (1 Forbes for Overall
  • 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!

The Big International 3
Vivendi Universal (French)
  • Music (28 of market 1) AM, Decca, Geffen,
    Interscope, Island, Def Jam, MCA, Mercury,
    Motown, Universal, Verve
  • Education Publishing (2) Houghton Mifflin
  • Filmed Entertainment Universal Pictures (3),
    Home Video, TV Network Groups
  • TV
  • Universal TV 25,000 TV episodes to over 180
  • Canal TV Europes 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
  • 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
  • Theaters Sony Theaters Loews Cineplex (1),
    IMAX Theaters
  • Games 25 of video game market (1), Playstation

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, McCalls,
    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
  • 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 nations book
  • 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 NewsThe Myth of Internet
  • Dont 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 Vertical Integration Product
  • The goal is a complete propagandistic system for
    the consumer/child.
  • Disneys Lion King movie, dolls, bed sheets,
    t-shirts, videos, books, Broadway productions,
    Saturday morning cartoons on ABC, characters and
    rides at Disneyworld, soundtracks by Elton
  • Viacoms Rugrats appear on Nick Jr., and on
    Saturday mornings on CBS, Paramount makes a
    movie, VH1 shows the video, characters at
    themeparks, video is released at Blockbuster,
    books and magazines are released by Simon
    Schuster, and toys are released at all locations
  • In the end, each product creates a desire for
    other products
  • Anymore, the movie is inconsequential.

More Bad News Whos 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 (AM Records, Island Def Jam,
    Motown, Universal Pictures and Studios), Time
    Warner, Liberty Media (ATT)

Whos in Bed with Whom?
  • ATT (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 Whats 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
  • 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 others mutual success
  • In reality, do we have one big Monolith?

So Whats 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
  • The last 60 years has produced virtually no new
  • Spielberg Microsofts Dreamworks
  • And even they are getting beat up
  • How do smaller, independent individuals compete
    with Billion Corporations?

So Whats The Problem?
  • 3) Media has lost its adversarial/protective
  • The news has been traditionally a watchdog for
    the American public (make sure the bad guys get
  • They made sure Big Business and Government are
  • 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
  • The richest one-quarter of 1 of Americans (this
    would include the big 8) make 80 of campaign
  • 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 youll never hear

So Whats The Problem?
  • 4) Profit is now the only criteria for success
  • Before the business of media, people were
    dedicated to truth and responsible
  • 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
  • B) Bold, creative shows/approaches are
  • Want the biggest share possible (think about
    todays movies)
  • C) Expensive shows/stories are not cost
  • Give them the cheap stuff--No more Watergate

So Whats The Problem?
  • 5) 8 CEOs control the nations thoughts
  • If you control the media you control the minds of
    the people (Hitler knew it)
  • The media is the most effective teacher there
  • Media have the power to
  • A) Keep us in the dark by not reporting certain
  • NBCs Nuclear Power, Viacoms Advertising, News
    Corps Labor Practices, or the Big 8s 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
  • The big-business candidate

So Whats The Problem?
  • 6) No diversity of opinion and perspective
  • The media are owned by Billion Corporations
    with White, Rich Men as CEOs and Board Members
  • No poor, No Blacks, No Hispanics, No Blue-Collar,
    No Educators, No Women, No Environmentalists, No
    Spiritualists (outside of Christianity), No
    Anti-Materialists, No Homosexuals, No 2nd or 3rd
    World, No Non-Violent, No Southern, or No Rural
    Perspectives or Opinions
  • Thus
  • A) We receive only one perspective (no
  • Many of us dont see our views portrayed
  • B) The rest of the world never sees anything but
  • Electronic Colonialism

Possible Solutions
  • 1) Enforce 1934 FCC Guidelines
  • When the FCC was formed, companies who wanted to
    use public airwaves had to supply a public
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • This guarantees Washingtons alliance with the
  • And your powerlessness in politics since you
    dont 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,
  • Question Do our Representatives vote in our best
    interest or in the interest of their million
  • Remember, a successful campaign costs 4 to 10

Possible Solutions
  • 5) Use your vote
  • Vote for local and national candidates that
    support putting media back in the hands of the
  • 6) Get politically socially involved
  • 7) Express your anger/frustration to your
  • FCC, 445, 12th St. Washington, DC 20554
  • 8) Do Nothing
  • Let the Giants alone!

Is This What Our Country Has Become?