In 1983, 90 percent of American media was owned by 50 companies.
That same 90 percent is now controlled by just six companies (and their brands).
- GE (Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures, Focus Pictures)
- News Corp (Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post)
- Disney (ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax, Marvel Studios)
- Viacom (MTV, Nick Jr, BET, CMT, Paramount)
- Time Warner (CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Bros.)
- CBS (Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, Jeopardy, 60 Minutes)
What does that mean? Aside from the illusion of choice? Aside from the fact your media investment options are becoming more limited every day. Aside from the fact CBS better do something smart soon or it will be eaten or ripped apart up by one of the remaining five?
What it means is that 232 media executives control what 90 percent Americans read, watch or listen to. 232 execs control the information diet of 277 million Americans.
Yep, that’s one media exec for every 850,000 consumers. An audience the size of San Francisco.
That’s not the 1 percent. That’s like the .000001 percent.
Which is a pretty scary number until you realize it’s really just the illusion of control. Those media execs are squabbling over a market that’s rapidly evolving (devolving?) away from mass media.
Who the hell watches television in real time? Unless you live in a trailer park or can’t stream anything online to quieten the kids?
Those six media companies generate around $300 billion a year. They’re advertising conglomerates who sell the attention (or whatever’s left of it) of their audience to the highest bidder.
They require a dumb, compliant mass audience to sit back and consume the advertising between the movies and shows.