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American companies that dominate the media landscape

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    American companies that dominate the global media market

    If it wasn’t already obvious, AT&T getting the Federal Trade Commission’s blessing to merge with Time Warner this June has made it clear: The age of the media merger is upon us. There are some reasons why the biggest players in the field want to push their rings together like some kind of media giant Planeteers.

    First, print and online media are fueled by advertising revenue, while Google and Facebook have managed to cannibalize the entire ad market—in 2017, they accounted for 73% of all U.S. digital marketing.

    New media consumption methods and habits also play a role. As Netflix continues to thrive—in May, it passed Disney to become the exclusively media company with the highest market cap—old media giants are scrambling to find ways to create streaming services of their own. The AT&T merger is an example of vertical integration: the phone company owns the pipes (internet and cable connectivity) and now they own the content as well (HBO, Warner Bros., etc). In August of last year, Disney bought a streaming video startup for the same reason: they needed the cloud computing space and streaming expertise to launch their own Netflix competitor.

    An additional reason for the mergers is that cost to compete is going up. Apple, Google, Facebook, and Netflix have all vowed to spend billions on original TV and film—as Disney owns so much bankable intellectual property. For another media company, the time has come to combine forces or sell to the highest bidder.

    Another reason for merger mania is the relaxing of antitrust regulation, which was already happening under former President Barack Obama and has accelerated under the Trump administration. The argument is that the emergence of Netflix has completely altered the industry: if the internet giants start making TV and film, the TV and film companies can combine without becoming monopolies because there are new players in town.

    But, as always, the consolidation of power in the hands of few companies has unseen consequences for competition, labor, and the market. If Disney successfully buys Fox and finally gets their hands on the X-Men, there will be a rush to make new Wolverine, Cyclops, and (finally) Gambit films—the characters could easily be folded into the new Avengers run. But, it’ll also mean that Disney will be putting out a more than $100 million movie every month of the year. What does that mean for indies trying to break through? What does that do to offbeat comedies? And what’s left for the rest of the film world?

    These are the 41 media companies that dominate the American market. To build the list, Stacker relied on the rankings compiled by Germany’s Institute for Media and Communication Policy. Some of the companies on the list are in the process of being—or have recently been—eaten by larger media giants.

    ALSO: Check out the world's most valuable brands

  • Chicago Tribune pictured here — Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikicommons
    2/ Chicago Tribune pictured here — Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikicommons

    #42. tronc, Inc.

    2017 revenue: $1,690,612,336

    Headquarters: Chicago

    What it owns: Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, among others

    What’s in a name? In this case, a whole lot. The former Tribune Company morphed into tronc, Inc. (Tribune Online Content) and realized its final form as an anti-union, budget-cutting transformer, dead-set on shining a bright light on the ills of modern media. Just this year, after a successful union push at the L.A. Times, tronc sold the Times to local billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong—the L.A. Times Union was elated to be free from tronc’s grasp.  

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    #41. Meredith Corporation

    2017 revenue: $1,737,217,776

    Headquarters: Des Moines, Iowa

    What it owns: Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Better Homes and Gardens, among others

    This publishing behemoth based in Iowa is known for its focus on wholesome family magazines, but late last year it bought New York media institution Time, Inc. The sale, funded by the conservative Koch brothers—who funded the Tea Party among other conservative politicians and legislation—meant Meredith became the home of Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and Time Magazine. After a heavy round of layoffs, it now appears Meredith is attempting to resell the hugely famous magazines.

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    #40. Scholastic Corporation

    2017 revenue: $1,760,520,496

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: "Harry Potter," "The Hunger Games," "Goosebumps," and much more

    This New York-based company is a leader in the school textbook market, and also has a powerful children’s publishing wing. Scholastic Corporation owns the U.S. publishing rights to megahit franchises like “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Magic School Bus,” and “Goosebumps.”

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    #39. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    2017 revenue: $1,809,456,208

    Headquarters: Hoboken, N.J.

    What it owns: The “For Dummies” series, among others

    John Wiley & Sons is another major player in the textbook game. They focus heavily on higher education, especially in the spaces of medicine, science, and technology. In 2012, the company sold "Frommer’s Travel Guides" to Google, and sold off Webster’s Dictionary and CliffsNotes to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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    #38. Take-Two Interactive, Inc.

    2017 revenue: $1,873,538,688

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: "Grand Theft Auto," "NBA 2K," "BioShock"

    The third-largest gaming company in the western world, Take-Two Interactive owns the publishers behind the 2K sports game “Grand Theft Auto,” as well as first-person shooter game “BioShock.” The company’s stock has been going down; analysts fear that if the highly anticipated sequel “Red Dead Redemption 2” doesn’t bring in huge numbers, the stock will plunge further.

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    #37. Tribune Media

    2017 revenue: $2,050,639,360

    Headquarters: Chicago

    What it owns: WGN, The Food Network, 39 local stations, and more

    The broadcasting wing of the company formerly known as the Tribune Company owns WGN and The Food Network, and has a huge swath of local stations across America—in major markets like New York, L.A., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dallas. Currently, right-wing broadcasting giant Sinclair Media is in the process of purchasing Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, but the deal is legally precarious: it would reportedly give Sinclair too large of a share of local broadcasting. However, it seems Trump’s FTC may change rules to let the deal go through.

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    #36. Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation

    2017 revenue: $2,457,271,824

    Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.

    What it owns: Lionsgate Films, Starz, and more

    The Santa Monica-based corporation is a major player in the film and television industry. Its film wing has put out “The Hunger Games,” “John Wick,” and “La La Land” in recent years, and the TV wing was behind “Mad Men,” “Nashville,” and “Weeds.” It seems as though Lionsgate will be swooped up in the wave of mergers hitting the media industry—Amazon, Verizon, and the newly merged CBS-Viacom all have been rumored to be in the market for the studio.

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    #35. Advance Publications

    2017 revenue: $2,526,014,848

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Condé Nast, Discovery Channel, many local papers, and more

    The Newhouse family is most famous for their ownership of Condé Nast, which is home to publications like GQ, Wired, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and other notable magazines. In 2015, in a bid to connect with a younger male audience, Advance Publications bought the music site Pitchfork.


     

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    #34. Graham Holdings Company

    2017 revenue: $2,612,234,912

    Headquarters: Washington D.C.

    What it owns: Slate, Newsweek, several local TV stations, and more

    Graham Holdings Company was formerly known as The Washington Post Company, named for the paper that was once its flagship publication. In 2013, when the paper was sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the company renamed itself after the family that had owned the paper for eight decades. Graham Holdings still owns Slate, Newsweek, some local TV stations, and educational publishing company Kaplan.

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    #33. Twitter

    2017 revenue: $2,663,500,896

    Headquarters: San Francisco

    What it owns: Periscope

    Though most people outside of tech define them as such, Twitter—and Facebook and any other social platform—might balk at being defined as media companies. But Twitter has made a name for itself as a platform for journalists to share breaking news and comment upon live activity. With the president’s penchant to tweet wildly, it’s become a place that news is made. The company also owns Periscope, the live video streaming app. It is perpetually for sale, with Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, Google, and Disney all rumored to have varying degrees of interest in the past.

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    #32. Sinclair Broadcast Group

    2017 revenue: $2,880,216,192

    Headquarters: Hunt Valley, Md.

    What it owns: Almost 200 local TV stations in nearly 100 markets

    With 173 television stations in 81 markets, Sinclair Broadcast Group has a massive presence in the local news landscape and has emerged as a conservative media juggernaut. If the local broadcasting giant’s purchase of Tribune Media goes through, they will have local TV channels in 72% of American homes. Just this March, a video montage by Deadspin reporter Timothy Burke showing scores of local news broadcasts reading the same (word-for-word) anti-”Fake News” bulletin went viral.

     

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    #31. AMC Networks

    2017 revenue: $2,901,188,640

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: AMC, SundanceTV, IFC Films, BBC America, We TV and more

    This New York-based company owns and operates a handful of cable networks, including AMC, SundanceTV, BBC America (in a partnership with the British broadcaster) and We TV. The biggest hit in AMC’s history has been "Mad Men;" their most recent big-time release is the critically acclaimed "Killing Eve" on BBC America—which actually saw growing audience numbers throughout its first-season run.

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    #30. Scripps Networks Interactive

    2017 revenue: $3,022,362,784

    Headquarters: Knoxville, Tenn.

    What it owns: Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, and more

    The Tennessee-based broadcast giant owned many niche cable networks, including Cooking Channel, Food Network, HGTV, and the Travel Channel. In March of this year, the company was bought by Discovery Communications for almost $12 billion.

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    #29. Univision Communications

    2017 revenue: $3,201,793,728

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Univision Network, Fusion, Gizmodo, and more

    The Spanish-language American media company is a behemoth in the market, owning 16 digital and cable networks, plus 128 local TV and radio stations. Recently, the company began to purchase online publishers to add to Fusion, its digital media venture. After Peter Thiel’s successful lawsuit against Gawker, Univision bought the online provocateurs—and their legal debt—adding titles like Gizmodo, Deadspin, and Jezebel to its roster. But by 2017, Univision was looking to sell part of its Gawker-Fusion online media holdings.

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    #28. Time Inc.

    2017 revenue: $3,237,912,944

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and nearly 100 more magazines

    The New York City-based publishing giant was founded in 1922 and owned Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, and Food + Wine, among many others. But as of this past November, Time Inc. became a part of the Meredith Corporation in a $1.8 billion deal. Since the purchase, Meredith has began to look for suitors to buy Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

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    #27. IAC/InterActiveCorp.

    2017 revenue: $3,305,490,832

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Match.com, Tinder, The Daily Beast, College Humor, Angie’s List, and more

    IAC or InterActiveCorp is a media holding company that could only exist right at this very moment. The firm’s portfolio includes the Match Group (Match.com, Tinder, BlackPeopleMeet.com, OKCupid, and a handful of other dating apps), a publishing arm (The Daily Beast, Dictionary.com, and more), a video wing (Vimeo, College Humor, and DailyBurn), and a slew of other properties. This is a company that helps users swipe right, read the news, and work out.  

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    #26. TEGNA

    2017 revenue: $3,516,380,448

    Headquarters: McLean, Va.

    What it owns: 47 TV stations in 39 markets

    This Virginia-based media company owns 47 TV stations across 39 local markets. The largest owner of local NBC and CBS affiliates, it recently bought two TV stations and two radio stations in San Diego for $325 million.

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    #25. Electronic Arts

    2017 revenue: $5,099,800,272

    Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.

    What it owns: EA Sports, "The Sims," Mass Effect

    The video game giant based in Redwood City, Calif. is most famous for its sports games: "FIFA," "Madden," "NBA Live," and others. But aside from sports releases, the second-largest gaming company in America also puts out hits like "Battlefield," "The Sims," "Mass Effect," and the "Star Wars" games.

     

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    #24. S&P Global

    2017 revenue: $5,988,799,040

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Standard & Poor’s, S&P 500

    Known as McGraw-Hill for 128 years, the company became S&P Global in 2016 to reflect its move away from publishing and towards market analytics. S&P Global owns Standard & Poor’s rating service, which provides independent credit ratings for companies, as well as the S&P 500: a stock market index of the 500 largest companies on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

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    #23. iHeart Media

    2017 revenue: $6,603,990,848

    Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

    What it owns: 855 radio stations, over 1,000 billboards, and MediaBase

    iHeartMedia, formerly known as Clear Channel, is the biggest radio station owner in the United States. While still Clear Channel, the Texas-based company was a factor in TV broadcasting and live events, but sold off its TV channels in the late 2000s—spinning off Live Nation as its own company in 2005. This year, facing bankruptcy, iHeartMedia is looking to be bailed out by a sale—Sirius XM recently withdrew a $1.16 billion offer to buy the company. 

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    #22. Discovery Communications

    2017 revenue: $6,839,348,320

    Headquarters: Silver Spring, Md.

    What it owns: Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, HGTV, among others

    The Maryland-based media company has always focused on reality-based education-meets-entertainment programming—delivering networks like Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, and Science. Since acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive in March, Discovery has added The Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel to its fact-based programming portfolio.

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    #21. Activision Blizzard Inc.

    2017 revenue: $6,954,696,784

    Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.

    What it owns: "Call of Duty," "World of Warcraft," "StarCraft," "Candy Crush," and many more gaming franchises

    This Santa Monica-based company is the largest video gaming force in America. Activision Blizzard puts out the hugely popular “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” franchises, and has gotten into mobile gaming with an acquisition of the company King, makers of “Candy Crush,” for $5.9 billion. Activision Blizzard is also making a push into the hugely lucrative and rapidly growing world of esports.  

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    #20. Netflix

    2017 revenue: $9,295,455,008

    Headquarters: Los Gatos, Calif.

    What it owns: Netflix

    Once the insurgent upstart, Netflix is now the sun by which all of the film and TV industry circles around. Many of the mergers of major studios have been sold as the last, best chance to slow down the rise of Netflix. The subscription-based streaming innovator hit 125 million subscribers in April—in May, it passed Disney as the highest-valued pure media company on the planet. Disney has spent billions on acquisitions in order to secure the cloud computing space and the content to challenge Netflix at its own game.

     

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    #19. Bloomberg LP

    2017 revenue: $9,684,610,432

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Bloomberg Terminal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg Television, and more

    Started by eventual New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg’s main business is selling the Bloomberg Terminal, financial insight software used by every stockbroker in the country—each terminal costs around $20,000 per year. Additionally, the company puts out three magazines and runs a TV network.

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    #18. Oath

    2017 revenue: $10,799,645,584

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: HuffPost, Tumblr, TechCrunch, Yahoo! News, and more

    Oath is the media arm of the telecom giant Verizon. It’s made up of the properties acquired in the AOL and Yahoo! purchases in 2015 and 2017, respectively: HuffPost, Tumblr, Yahoo! News, TechCrunch, Engadget, and more.

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    #17. The Hearst Corporation

    2017 revenue: $11,368,231,952

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Esquire, Cosmopolitan, many newspapers, 29 local TV stations

    Founded by William Randolph Hearst in the 1880s, The Hearst Corporation is a weakened, but still formidable force in publishing. The magazine wing puts out Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Runner’s World, and 26 other publications; the company also owns 23 local papers, including the San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst has partial ownership of both A&E and ESPN, and owns 29 local stations as well. In January, Hearst completed a purchase of the health and wellness publishing company Rodale.  

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    #16. Thomson Reuters Corporation

    2017 revenue: $11,753,891,968

    Headquarters: Toronto, Canada

    What it owns: Reuters News Agency  

    The Toronto-based company was formed in 2008 when the Thomson Corporation—a large textbook and information company—merged with the British newswire giant, Reuters. Today, the combined multinational corporation continues to run the wire service which, along with the Associated Press, serves most major newspapers.

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    #15. Dish Network Corporation

    2017 revenue: $15,888,959,632

    Headquarters: Englewood, Colo.

    What it owns: Dish Network, Sling TV, The Hopper

    Satellite-based Dish Network has always been a threat to traditional cable. In the past half decade, as cord-cutters have sent cable giants into existential dread, Dish has focused on workarounds: buying Blockbuster to challenge Netflix in 2011; creating the Hopper, a DVR tool that allows for commercial skipping, in 2012; and introducing Sling TV, an online subscription-based tool for streaming live television. Dish has focused on sports content, making a concerted effort to sell its NFL, College Football, and other packages to bars and restaurants.   

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    #14. Liberty Media Corp. / Liberty Interactive

    2017 revenue: $16,760,481,360

    Headquarters: Englewood, Colo.

    What it owns: Sirius XM, Formula 1 Racing, the Atlanta Braves

    At one point, Liberty Media owned Starz, half of DirecTV, a few local CBS affiliates, and many more media assets, but the company does not own any of those properties currently. Today, it owns: 100% of both the Atlanta Braves and Formula 1 Racing; 71% of Sirius XM radio; 34% of Live Nation; and smaller slices of Time Warner and Verizon. The company has been rumored to be interested in iHeartRadio, but recently withdrew its $1.16 billion offer for the struggling company.

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    #13. Microsoft Corporation

    2017 revenue: $17,785,801,040

    Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.

    What it owns: XBox, Yammer, GitHub, LinkedIn

    One of the first and most prominent tech giants, Microsoft rose in the late-'70s to early '80s and became a monolith with the creation of the ubiquitous Windows software. The company, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, dominated early software markets to a degree that it was eventually disciplined by the Department of Justice for antitrust violations. In 2001, the company entered the video game hardware space with the XBox—which, along with Sony’s Playstation, dominates the gaming console market. In 2012, Microsoft bought the social media company Yammer for $1.2 billion and paid $26.2 billion for LinkedIn in 2016; this year, they spent $7.5 billion on the code repository GitHub.

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    #12. Cox Enterprises Inc.

    2017 revenue: $21,157,704,624

    Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.

    What it owns: Local TV and radio stations across the country, six newspapers, an internet service provider, a telephone service provider, a cable TV provider

    Cox Enterprises is a telecom-media conglomerate that serves much of the country. It’s the third-largest cable TV provider, the seventh-largest phone carrier, and an internet service provider to 3.5 million people. The company also runs local TV and radio stations across America—especially in the South—and owns six newspapers in Ohio and the Southeast. Recently, Cox has sold off a fair amount of its newspapers and local stations; in 2017, it was rumored that cable giant Charter was a potential buyer.

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    #11. Amazon.com Inc.

    2017 revenue: $25,483,854,592

    Headquarters: Seattle, Wash.

    What it owns: Audible, GoodReads, Twitch, Whole Foods, Zappos, IMDb

    The Seattle-based online retail giant makes much of its fortune from Amazon Web Services, which sells the service space needed for cloud computing to companies. With all the extra cash on hand, Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos have made a few purchases of media or media-adjacent companies, including The Washington Post, audiobook service Audible, game broadcasting service Twitch, and film and book rating sites, IMDb and GoodReads, respectively. Amazon continues to approach Bezos’ dream of an everything store—they’re becoming an everything media company as well.


     

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    #10. Apple Inc.

    2017 revenue: $25,629,496,592

    Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif.

    What it owns: Beats by Dre, Shazam, Texture

    The brainchild of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple is arguably the most important American company of this era. The hardware geniuses changed music consumption with the iPod, changed the way people interact with the world with the iPhone, and changed the way toddlers stay busy at restaurants with the iPad. With Apple Music, the company offers access to an extensive music library for a monthly fee and also offers paid access to almost every movie on the Apple Store. Today, Apple is investing heavily in creating original television programming—it has $257 billion in cash on hand, so it can easily become a force in the market.

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    #9. Viacom Inc./CBS Corp.

    2017 revenue: $27,003,191,936

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Paramount, Showtime, CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Nickelodeon, BET, and so much more

    Viacom was a mammoth in the broadcasting and cable TV space, but as cord-cutting and Netflix impacted the cable TV world, the company experienced a decline. CBS, on the other hand, has been a force in the network TV space since CEO Les Moonves took over in 2006. The two companies were merged once before from 2000 to 2006; Shari Redstone—the daughter of billionaire Sumner Redstone, who owns 80% of both companies—has been attempting to merge the two companies since 2016, but Moonves has threatened to leave if she does. Even though everyone has merger fever, the ultra-talented executive’s threats have kept the deal at bay. When the deal is done, the company will still struggle to contend with the coffers available to Apple, Facebook, Google, Comcast, and Disney.

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    #8. Facebook, Inc.

    2017 revenue: $29,092,280,784

    Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

    What it owns: Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR

    This social media giant swears again and again that it is not a media company, which could be a convenient way to shirk certain responsibilities expected of news providers. But whether it’s a communication platform or a media giant, the fact remains: Facebook is the way most adults get their news. Aside from the news feed, which delivers links to users, Facebook also has invested heavily in video on Instagram: It recently announced IGTV, a long-form video platform on the photo-sharing app. Facebook will also be delivering through an entirely new medium with its Oculus VR wing, and is investing $1 billion on original TV this year.

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    #7. Charter Comm. Inc.

    2017 revenue: $30,528,893,472

    Headquarters: Stamford, Conn.

    What it owns: Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks

    The St. Louis-founded telecom giant provides service to 25 million customers across the country; in 2012, it moved its headquarters to Stamford, Conn. In 2016, the company closed deals for Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks for a combined $71 billion—the deal made Charter a real contender alongside AT&T and Comcast.

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    #6. Time Warner Inc.

    2017 revenue: $30,860,957,232

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: HBO, TBS, CNN, DC Comics, Warner Bros., and 10% of Hulu

    The New York-based media giant was initially formed during the 1990 merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications. Until it was bought by AT&T for $85.4 billion—the deal was just approved by the FTC in June—Time Warner was the third-largest entertainment company on the planet. AT&T bought Time Warner in order to get its hands on the company’s valuable media assets, including HBO, CNN, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. AT&T, like every other media giant, will probably be launching a standalone Netflix competitor, and it also picked up 10% of Hulu in the merger.

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    #5. News Corp. Ltd./21st Century Fox

    2017 revenue: $37,491,746,208

    Headquarters: New York City

    What it owns: Fox News, "X-Men," Fox Searchlight, 21st Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, Dow Jones, The New York Post, HarperCollins, The Wall Street Journal, and many other newspapers

    Owned by the mercurial Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and 21st Century Fox are media delivery leaders that have helped reshape the world. Murdoch is a powerful conservative figure and with Fox News and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page—he’s shaped the right-wing conversation in America for years. Currently, Disney and Comcast are fighting for the right to buy off 21st Century Fox, Murdoch’s TV and film wing—Fox News and the newspapers will remain a part of News Corp. Disney is the frontrunner and envisions adding "X-Men," and its many film and TV assets to its upcoming streaming platform.

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    #4. AT&T Entertainment Group (DirecTV)

    2017 revenue: $38,378,414,704

    Headquarters: El Segundo, Calif.

    What it owns: DirecTV, Time Warner

    The history of AT&T is a great window into the strange moment of corporate consolidation that the United States is currently going through. The original AT&T was broken up in 1982 and spurred the creation of many regional phone companies. But from 2005 on, one of the smaller companies bought up the struggling AT&T and then purchased almost every other “Baby Bell” that was formed in 1982. Today the company is basically reanimated as its once too-big-for-a-competitive-market self—just this June, AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner went through, meaning the phone, internet, and satellite TV provider now owns both the pipes and the content. Telecom companies view this kind of vertical integration as the key to surviving the threats from Netflix, Apple, Google, and Facebook.

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    #3. The Walt Disney Company

    2017 revenue: $58,558,570,224

    Headquarters: Burbank, Calif.

    What it owns: Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, Pixar, ABC, and so much more

    This whole list has highlighted the ways in which old media has struggled to keep up with the times. Disney is the one exception. Under CEO Bob Iger, who took over in 2005, Disney has made ingenious purchase after ingenious purchase: buying Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, and Lucasfilm in 2012. Last year, Disney bought MLB Advanced Media, a startup founded by the sports league, for its cloud server space and streaming expertise—they plan to use the technology to power their standalone Netflix competitor. It’ll let you watch "Star Wars," "The Avengers," "Toy Story," "The Bachelor," and the NBA Finals; Iger might’ve just built an old media giant for the new world.

  • Mike Mozart // Wikicommons
    42/ Mike Mozart // Wikicommons

    #2. Comcast

    2017 revenue: $84,633,148,768

    Headquarters: Philadelphia

    What it owns: NBC, Universal Studios, Bravo, E!, USA, Telemundo, Rotten Tomatoes, 30% of Hulu, and much more

    The telecom conglomerate based in Philadelphia is the largest cable provider and biggest internet provider in America. In 2011, the company bought NBCUniversal, taking control of the studio and broadcaster behind "Saturday Night Live," “Jaws,” and “Jurassic Park.” After seeing Disney gain momentum in its bid to buy Fox, Comcast stepped in at the last moment and offered $65 billion to try to get its hands on the studio. It looks as though Disney is the frontrunner, but the decision is still very much in limbo. Whichever media giant wins the bidding war will completely change the face of media for years to come.

  • Google is one of Alphabet's subsidiaries — Ben Nuttall // Flickr
    43/ Google is one of Alphabet's subsidiaries — Ben Nuttall // Flickr

    #1. Alphabet Inc.

    2017 revenue: $95,500,372,240

    Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

    What it owns: Google, YouTube

    The remarkable thing about Google is that it’s so big and valuable that it’s already changed the entire face of media before even entering into the original programming fray. YouTube made an estimated $3.5 billion on ad revenue in 2017—that same year, it began spending up to $3 million per episode for original programming. YouTube serves a shocking 1.5 billion monthly viewers, but its $10-per-month streaming service YouTube Red has yet to catch on. Still, Google is a force because of its advertising platform and reach which powers online monetization and business marketing throughout the world



     

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