Although our televisions offer thousands of different channels to watch, most are owned and controlled by the same handful of companies. This is natural, of course, but while many are aware of this consolidation of ownership, I believe few are aware of the full extent.
Living in the Information Age has surprisingly made it more troublesome to find this information, as no one is there to update old articles or out-of-date infographics. In fact, the Wikipedia page includes a lot of outdated information itself. This results in confusion. It doesn’t help that companies make so many divisions and parent companies; it obscures the source of where the real leadership is.
To combat this, I compiled a list of the top media conglomerates and all of the different assets and subsidiaries they own. In the end, over 80% of television comes from just 5 companies:
- The Walt Disney Company
- Time Warner
- 21st Century Fox
- National Amusements
Using the tool below, you can see what company owns a TV channel or movie studio.
Note: All assets are listed under the highest-level holding company I could find.
For example: Golf Now is a part of NBC Sports Group, which is a part of NBCUniversal, which is a part of Comcast – so typing Golf Now will return Comcast.
The Illusion of Choice
Type the name of a cable channel, media outlet or major movie studio to find out the conglomerate that owns it.
- Viacom and CBS Corporation are included under National Amusements since controlling stakes for both companies are owned by billionaire Sumner Redwood, the majority owner of National Amusements
- Hulu was not included since ownership is split 4-ways between Comcast (30%), The Walt Disney Company (30%), 21st Century Fox (30%), and Time Warner (10%)
- NBCUniversal (part of Comcast) owns 70% of Fandango, which also owns Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Brothers (part of Time Warner) owns the other 30%.
Where is Newscorp?
News Corp (or Newscorp) is one of two companies that were formed by the split of News Corporation—a different company, but not really—back in mid-2013. The other company that was formed by this split was 21st Century Fox, which became the legal successor and continuation of the old News Corporation. As a result, 21st Century Fox owns the media assets, while News Corp—a separate company—owns the publishing assets.
I learned a lot by making this, but it also made me question how it affects almost everything that is put in front of us today. Is this new hyped-up Universal Studios movie actually “Certified Fresh”, or does it have such a high rating because Comcast also owns Rotten Tomatoes?
I may look into exploring the relationship between Rotten Tomato score and movie studio/parent company. Do studios owned by Comcast or Time Warner systematically receive higher Rotten Tomato scores? 🤔 It would could be a cool next step.
Next time the TV is telling you how to think, consider the source and the agendas of their boss.