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

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Presentation on theme: "The Big Business of Media: The Growth of Media Monopolies By Alan DeSantis."— Presentation transcript:

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

2 Conglomerations, Buyouts, & Mergers Prior to 1960, hundreds of independent, family owned companies produced mass media for the nation –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

3 The Big 7 (and the MEN that run them) The Big American 4 –1) AOL-Time/Warner —Steve Case –2) News Corp —Rupert Murdoch –3) Disney —Michael Eisner –4) Viacom —Sumner Redstone The Big International 3 –5) Sony (Japan)—Sir Howard Stringer –6) Bertelsmann (German)—Thomas Middelhoff –7) V-Universal (French)—Jean-Marie Messier

4 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 monopolies Not surprisingly, the Media Industry is a top lobbying contributor to politicians

5 The Big American 4

6 Viacom 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 Markets! 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 Studios)

7 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

8 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

9 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, Cartoons! Music (#2): Warner/Chappel, Atlantic, Elecktra, Reprise, (new)= EMI, Capitol, Virgin, Columbia House (50% w/ Sony) Programming: ER, Friends, Buffy, Sopranos, etc.

10 AOL-Time-Warner-Turner Mags (#1): Time, Fortune, Life, SI, People, Money 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 Billion Joint Ventures: Hughes Electronics, 3 Com, Kodak, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard

11 The Strange 5th Big Brother in the Game: General Electric

12 General Electric (#1 Forbes for Overall Holdings) 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!”

13 The Big International 3

14 Vivendi Universal (French) Music (28% of market: #1): A&M, 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 countries –Canal+ TV : Europe’s #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

15 Sony (Japan) Electronics: Media technology (#1 in home entertainment) 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 Pictures Theaters: Sony Theaters & Loews Cineplex (#1), IMAX Theaters Games: 25% of video game market (#1), Playstation (#1)

16 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, McCall’s, 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 #1 Music: RCA, Arista Music, Windham Hill, & BMG Computers: 50% of AOL Europe, Germany, France and Lycos Europe *New Deal with Napster (50 million)

17 What the Breakdown Looks Like: 3 publishers have most of the nation’s book sales –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

18 More Bad News: The Myth of Internet Diversification Don’t 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

19 More Bad News: Vertical Integration & Product Synergy The goal is a complete propagandistic system for the consumer/child. Disney’s 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 John Viacom’s 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.”

20 More Bad News: Who’s 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 (A&M Records, Island Def Jam, Motown, Universal Pictures and Studios), Time Warner, Liberty Media (ATT)

21 Who’s in Bed with Whom? AT&T (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

22 So What’s 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 better) 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 other’s mutual success –In reality, do we have one big Monolith?

23 So What’s 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 McDonalds? –The last 60 years has produced virtually no new players Spielberg & Microsoft’s Dreamworks And even they are getting beat up –How do smaller, independent individuals compete with Billion $ Corporations?

24 So What’s The Problem? 3) Media has lost its adversarial/protective role –The news has been traditionally a watchdog for the American public (make sure the bad guys get caught) They made sure Big Business and Government are clean –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 Washington –The richest one-quarter of 1 % of Americans (this would include the big 8) make 80% of campaign contributions –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 you’ll never hear about!

25 So What’s The Problem? 4) Profit is now the only criteria for success –Before the business of media, people were dedicated to “truth” and “responsible journalism” 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 photography) –B) Bold, creative shows/approaches are discouraged Want the biggest share possible (think about today’s movies) –C) Expensive shows/stories are not cost effective Give them the cheap stuff--No more “Watergate Investigations”

26 So What’s The Problem? 5) 8 CEOs control the nation’s thoughts –If you control the media you control the minds of the people (Hitler knew it) –The media is the most effective teacher there is! –Media have the power to: –A) Keep us in the dark by not reporting certain issues NBC’s Nuclear Power, Viacom’s Advertising, News Corp’s Labor Practices, or the Big 8’s 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 coverage The big-business candidate

27 So What’s 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 alternatives) Many of us don’t see our views portrayed –B) The rest of the world never sees anything but USA Electronic Colonialism

28 Possible Solutions 1) Enforce 1934 FCC Guidelines –When the FCC was formed, companies who wanted to use “public airwaves” had to supply a public service 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”

29 Possible Solutions 2) Break up the media monopolies (anti-trust laws) –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” to: 1) serve the public interest 2) aid democracy 3) further education –Their goal would be edification, not profit!

30 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 contributions –This guarantees Washington’s alliance with the rich And your powerlessness in politics since you don’t 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, etc. –Question: Do our Representatives vote in our best interest or in the interest of their million $ contributors? Remember, a successful campaign costs 4 to 10 Million $

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

32 Is This What Our Country Has Become?

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