Concentration of media ownership  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Media cross-ownership in the United States

Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation) is a commonly used term that refers to the majority of the media outlets being owned by a small number of conglomerates and corporations — especially by those who view such consolidation as detrimental, dangerous, or otherwise problematic — to characterize ownership structure of mass media industries. Media ownership may refer to states of oligopoly or monopoly in a given media industry, or to the importance of a low number of media conglomerates. Large media conglomerates include Disney, National Amusements, Viacom, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, News Corp, Bertelsmann AG, Sony, General Electric, Vivendi SA, Hearst Corporation, and Lagardère Group.

For example, movie production is known to be dominated by major studios since the early 20th Century; before that, there was a period in which Edison's Trust monopolized the industry. The music and television industries recently witnessed cases of media consolidation, with Sony Music Entertainment's parent company merging their music division with Bertelsmann AG's BMG to form Sony BMG and TimeWarner's The WB and CBS Corp.'s UPN merging to form The CW. In the case of Sony BMG, there existed a "Big Five" (now "Big Four") of major record companies, while The CW's creation was an attempt to consolidate ratings and stand up to the "Big Four" of American network (terrestrial) television.

There may also be some large-scale owners in an industry that are not the causes of monopoly or oligopoly. Clear Channel Communications, especially since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, acquired many radio stations across the United States, and came to own more than 1,200 stations. However, the radio broadcasting industry in the United States and elsewhere can be regarded as oligopolistic regardless of the existence of such a player. Because radio stations are local in reach, each licensed a specific part of airwave by the FCC in a specific local area, any local market is served by a limited number of stations. In most countries, this system of licensing makes many markets local oligopolies. The similar market structure exists for television broadcasting, cable systems and newspaper industries, all of which are characterized by the existence of large-scale owners. Concentration of ownership is often found in these industries.

In the United States, data on ownership and market share of media companies is not held in the public domain. Academics, for example at MIT Media Lab and NYU, have struggled to find data that show reliably the concentration of media ownership.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Concentration of media ownership" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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