THE 6 COMPANIES THAT OWN (ALMOST) ALL MEDIA [INFOGRAPHIC]
In modern America, it feels like you have an unlimited variety of entertainment and media options right at your fingertips.
Television, film, and video game companies seem to come out of the woodwork in today’s startup-centric economy. Who knows what they’ll do next? But while it may seem like you have limitless options, most of the media you consume is owned by one of six companies. These six media companies are known as The Big 6.
While independent media outlets still exist (and there are a lot of them), the major outlets are almost all owned by these six conglomerates. To be clear, “media” in this context does not refer just to news outlets — it refers to any medium that controls the distribution of information. So here, “media” includes 24-hour news stations, newspapers, publishing houses, Internet utilities, and even video game developers.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of The Big 6, who control them, and what they own.
Media Conglomerate #1: National Amusements
Unless you’re directly involved in business and / or entertainment, you’ve probably never heard of National Amusements before.
The company owns movie theaters throughout the world — about 950 total — but it owns much more than just movie theaters.
NA’s huge collection of properties is staggering. Whether they own a company entirely, possess majority shares, or even own minority voting shares, the scope of NA’s reach is enormous for a company that’s known less than its subsidiaries.
To start our look at NA, let’s check out one of the biggest names in modern business — Sumner Redstone.
Head: Sumner Redstone
Sumner Redstone is the current owner of National Amusements and all of its properties. While his daughter Shari has the title of President, Sumner Redstone retains most of the control over the company.
NA was first founded by Sumner Redstone’s father Michael Redstone, making National Amusements one of the most powerful and successful corporate dynasties in the United States.
None of the Redstones publish their salaries. After all, National Amusements is a private company.
However, finance experts can guess at Sumner Redstone’s overall net worth.
His net worth refers to the total financial value of what Sumner Redstone owns, minus any outstanding debts.
As he nears his 94th birthday in 2017, Sumner Redstone (and his estate) is worth an estimated $4.6 billion, according to Forbes.
While a decent amount of that value comes from his stake in National Amusements, much more of it comes from the companies that he owns.
TV and Film Assets
The most famous assets of National Amusements are almost all Viacom and CBS properties.
Combined, they make up the lion’s share of NA’s television and film acquisitions.
Still, that’s only a portion of what NA owns.
National Amusements has a modest collection of print publishers, but they’re pretty well-known.
The most well-known is Simon and Schuster, which National Amusements acquired when it purchased Viacom in 1999.
Video Game Assets
Along with other entertainment assets, National Amusements controls CBS Games.
Since its acquisition, CBS Games has rebranded to CBS Interactive, which now controls well-known gaming websites that we’ll look at next.
With CBS Interactive, National Amusements controls giant chunks of the video game news and sports news industries.
These brands include GameSpot, Metacritic, c|net, and 247-Sports.
Media Conglomerate #2: Disney
Disney is probably the most well-known media name on this list.
The company has a hand in just about every medium in the world from children’s cinema to sports.
When it comes to television and film, there’s a good chance you’re watching something owned by the Disney company — even if it doesn’t have Disney’s name.
They own so, so much.
Let’s start with the company’s leader.
Head: Bob Iger
Disney announced Bob Iger as CEO on March 13, 2005, following the departure of Michael Eisner.
Since then, Iger has run a campaign of mergers and acquisitions to expand Disney into an even greater media powerhouse, especially with the acquisition of Marvel ($4 billion) and Lucasfilm ($4 billion).
His published salary is $44.9 million. That breaks down to:
$1.73 million per paycheck
$172,692.32 per day
$21,586.54 per hour
Why does Iger make so much money?
He (technically) oversees all of the following companies.
TV and Film Assets
First, let’s look at the bread and butter of Disney — television, and film.
Considering they have theme parks built to their entertainment assets, it’s clear that Disney is best known for its TV and film properties.
There are so many different companies that you really just have to see it for yourself.
Disney’s print assets are a mix of proprietary publishers, Lucasfilm acquisitions, and Marvel properties.
The mix gives Disney a controlling interest in massive publishing niches, especially comic books, and science fiction novels.
Disney also owns ESPN, which has its own publishing arm for all things sports.
Video Game Assets
Finally, Disney owns a few video game assets.
They’re not huge, but they’re enough to keep Disney mildly competitive and up-to-date in the video game industry (especially mobile gaming).
GameStar, a subsidiary of Disney Interactive Studios, is one of the best-known video game developers bought by Disney.
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