October 24, 2008 By Sascha Meinrath
The U.S. federal government's media ownership policies have tremendous impact on the community media that has traditionally played an important role in fostering community awareness and involvement.
The past 20 years have seen an unprecedented number of media mergers among TV, radio, film, publishing and online holdings. An oligopoly has emerged in which six massive corporations control enormous numbers of media outlets. In 2006, combined revenues from these companies were greater than many countries' economies - even individually, the economic might is daunting. These companies include:
Viacom ($11.5 billion revenue) owns Atom Entertainment, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, publishing company Famous Music, music game developer Harmonix, and 18 joint ventures with Indian media company Global Broadcast News.
CBS Corp. ($14.3 billion revenue) owns the CBS Television Distribution Group, CBS Television Network, Showtime, Simon & Schuster book publishers, 27 TV stations, CBS Radio Inc. and its 140 stations across the country, and jointly owns The CW television network with Time Warner.
News Corp. ($25.3 billion revenue) controls the Fox Broadcasting Co., including TV and cable networks, such as Fox, Fox Business Channel, National Geographic and FX; 35 TV stations; print publications, including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, TV Guide and the magazines Barron's and SmartMoney; HarperCollins book publishing; film production companies Blue Sky Studios, Fox Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Fox; MarketWatch.com and other Web holdings; and nonmedia holdings, including the National Rugby League.
Walt Disney Co. ($34.3 billion revenue) owns TV stations ABC, A&E, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Lifetime, SOAPnet; 227 radio stations; multiple music and book publishing companies; media production companies Miramax, Touchstone, Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios; the cellular service Disney Mobile; and numerous theme parks.
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