The Media Business

The world's 10 biggest media companies

Time Warner 1997 projected sales: $25 billion 

Owns Time, Inc., which publishes 24 magazines, including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and Life; Warner Music Group, including Warner Bros., Atlantic, Interscope and Elektra Records; Warner Brothers studios; owns part of the WB Television network. Time Warner is the largest owner of cable systems in the U.S., as well as owning such cable channels as CNN, HBO and Cinemax.

Walt Disney Co. sales: $24 billion 

Owns Walt Disney, Miramax, Castle Rock, Touchstone, Hollywood, and Buena Vista film studios; ABC TV and radio; Disney theme parks and stores; sports teams; record labels; book publishing houses; owns part of Lifetime, A&E and History cable channels; has interests in European TV networks.

Bertelsmann sales: $15 billion 

Owns music companies RCA and Arista; publishing houses, including Bantam and Doubleday; extensive European TV and radio holdings.

Viacom sales: $13 billion 

Viacom owns Paramount Pictures; Blockbuster Video; MTV, Nickelodeon and other cable channels; the UPN TV network; publishing houses, including Simon & Schuster and Pocket Books.

News Corporation sales: $10 billion 

Headed by Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation owns 20th Century Fox, the Fox broadcasting network, the Fox News cable channel, 25 magazines including TV Guide and The Weekly Standard, 132 newspapers including the New York Post and the London Times, and HarperCollins books.

Sony sales: $9 billion (media only) 

Sony owns Sony Worldwide/SW radio, Sony Pictures, Columbia Tristar Pictures and Columbia Records.

Tele-Communications, Inc. sales: $7 billion 

Owns TCI cable systems, Liberty Media and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions; has interests in many cable channels, including Discovery Channel, E!, Home Shopping Network, QVC, Court TV and Black Entertainment TV.

Universal (Seagram sales: $7 billion 

Owns Universal Pictures, Universal Records and is half-owner of USA Networks. Subsidiary of the Seagram beverage company.

PolyGram (Phillips) sales: $7 billion 

Owns PolyGram music and films. Parent company is a Dutch electronics firm.

NBC (General Electric) sales: $5 billion 

Owns the NBC TV network, CNBC, MSNBC, and is part-owner of the History Channel. Parent company GE produces consumer electronics, as well as being a major manufacturer of military hardware and nuclear power equipment.


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Source: The Global Media by Edward S. Herman and Robert W. McChesney