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Media Conglomerates | Lionbliss Research

Updated: Jan 7, 2022


Narrative: a spoken or written account of connected events; a story.

Opinion: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

The current state of media companies and the story in which they became what they are is arguably the most impactful factor in the state of our society in 2020. From "Fake News", to conspiracy theories, to Government and Corporate Cover-Ups, the media is the first in line to driving any narrative to the public. The opinion is not always important, but the narrative of that opinion of who, what, when, and where is, and with the current status of media conglomerates, we are potentially at a point of no return.

In this document, using graphs, timelines, scholarly publications, and mainstream sources, I will breakdown the meaning, the effects, and the future of media conglomerates in the United States and across the globe.


Understanding Conglomerates

A conglomerate is a multi-industry company – i.e., a combination of multiple business entities operating in entirely different industries under one corporate group, usually involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Conglomerates are often large and multinational.

Conglomerates are large companies that are made up of independent entities that operate in multiple industries. Many conglomerates are multinationals and multi-industry corporations. Every one of a conglomerate's subsidiary businesses runs independently of the other business divisions, but the subsidiaries' management report to the senior management of the parent company. Taking part in many different businesses help a conglomerate's parent company cut back the risks from being in a single market. Doing so also helps the parent lower costs and use fewer resources. But there are times when a company grows too big that it loses efficiency. In order to deal with this, the conglomerate may divest. (Investopedia)

Media oligopoly

An oligopoly is when a few firms dominate a market.[9] The term oligopoly comes from the phrase oligarchy. Merriam Webster- Dictionary defines oligarchy as "a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes" So, When the larger scale media companies buy out the more smaller-scaled or local companies they become more powerful within the market. As they continue to eliminate their business competition through buyouts or forcing them out (because they lack the resources or finances) the companies left dominate the media industry and create a media oligopoly.[7]

Mergers and Acquisitions

There have been 5 prominent media mergers that have truly restructured the world of media as we know it. Fox Business states that these are the 5 biggest media mergers of all time:

  1. The biggest media merger of all time is America Online which bought control over Time Warner Incorporated in the year of 2000 on January 10th for a total of 112 billion dollars.

  2. The second biggest media merger of all time is AT&T buying control over Time Warner Incorporated once again this time in the year of 2016 on October 22nd for a total of 101 billion dollars.

  3. The third biggest media merger of all time is Charter Communications buying control over Time Warner Incorporated for the 3rd time in the year of 2015 on May 26th for a total of 87.4 Billion dollars.

  4. The fourth largest media merger of all time is Walt Disney Company buying control over Twenty First Century Fox Incorporated the sector of their entertainment business in the year of 2017 on December 14th for a total of 84.8 Billion dollars.

  5. The fifth largest media merger of all time is AT&T buying control over direcTV in the year of 2014 on May 18th for a total of 66.5 Billion dollars.

Types of Conglomerates

There are many different types of conglomerates in the world today, from manufacturing to media to food. A manufacturer may begin by making and selling its own products. It may decide to expand into the electronics market, then moving into another industry like financial services. A media conglomerate may start out owning several newspapers, then purchase television and radio stations, and book publishing companies. A food conglomerate may start by selling potato chips. The company may decide to diversify, buying a soda pop company, then expand even more by purchasing other companies that make different food products. (Investopedia)

The Concentration of Media Ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media.[1] Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.[2][3] Globally, large media conglomerates include Bertelsmann, National Amusements (ViacomCBS), Sony Corporation, News Corp, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T Inc., Fox Corporation, Hearst Communications, MGM Holdings Inc., Grupo Globo (South America), and Lagardère Group.[4][5][6]

  • As of 2020, the largest media conglomerates in terms of revenue rank Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, and ViacomCBS, per Forbes. In nations described as authoritarian by most international think-tanks and NGOs, media ownership is generally something very close to the complete state control over information in direct or indirect ways. Also noting in the 2020 ForbesGlobal 2000 list, AT&T was America's largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, with Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, & ViacomCBS (controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares) completing the top four.[9][10]

  • In 1984, fifty independent media companies owned the majority of media interests within the United States. By 2011, 90% of the United States's media was controlled by six media conglomerates: GE/Comcast (NBC, Universal), News Corp (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post) Disney (ABC, ESPN, Pixar), Viacom (MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures), Time Warner (CNN, HBO, Warner Bros.) and CBS (Showtime,[11][12]

  • Between 1941 and 1975, several laws that restricted channel ownership within radio and television were enacted in order to maintain unbiased and diverse media. However under the Reagan administration, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, then led by FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler, began a concerted deregulation over the years 1981 and 1985. The number of television stations a single entity can own increased from seven to 12 stations.

  • The industry continued to deregulate with enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Signed by President Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996, it was considered by the FCC to be the "first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years".[13]

The industry continued to deregulate with enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Signed by President Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996, it was considered by the FCC to be the "first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years".

Journalistic Pillars

  1. Media Freedom

  2. Pluralism

  3. Independence

  4. Safety


Joe Rogan Experience #1491 - Bill Burr

Bill Burr is a standup comedian and also hosts his own podcast called “The Monday Morning Podcast”. This is a great conversation on the corruption in Hollywood and in comedy through the lenses of comedians and actors.


(Constant WIP)

Toxic Waste - Minot, North Dakota

  • In the case of Minot, North Dakota,[14] the concerns regarding media consolidation is realized. On January 18, 2002, a train containing hazardous chemicals derailed in the middle of the night, exposing countless Minot residents to toxic waste. Upon trying to get out an emergency broadcast, the Minot police were unable to reach anyone. They were instead forwarded to the same automated message, as all the broadcast stations in Minot were single-handedly owned by Clear Channel Communications. As the FCC reviews media ownership rules, broadcasters continued to petition it for the elimination of all rules, while those who are against this easing would often cite the incident in Minot as how consolidation could be harmful.


  • Organizations like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have accused the Military-industrial-media complex of using their media resources to promote militarism, which, according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's hypothesis, benefits the defense resources of the company. As FAIR observed, "when correspondents and paid consultants on NBC television praised the performance of U.S. weapons, they were extolling equipment made by GE, the corporation that pays their salaries."[96]


"The purpose of this is to give you the proper information to start exploring the deep rabbit holes of media conglomerates on your own or with peers. I will always be editing this with new and updating information, so feel free and confident to share, the goal is to be more informed. Thanks for your time!"





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