Media Consolidation: The Illusion of Choice (Infographic)

As a dad (and blogger) I’m concerned with the integrity of the news and entertainment my family and I consume every day. Who really produces, owns and airs the shows my kids are glued to every evening and which companies select the stories I read with such loyalty each morning? I’ve always advocated for critical consumption, and what could be more important than an awareness of the sources of our families’ daily info and entertainment diets? And today, most of our media is controlled by one of six companies. Check out Frugaldad’s infographic on the state of media consolidation in the U.S.:

Media Consolidation Infographic


  1. Jason, I work for one of the “Big 6” and I share your concern. The answer is to teach your kids to put TV in the proper perspective. Always consider your sources. Like BB King says, “Nobody loves me but mama, and she may be jivin too.” It’s entertainment, and nothing more. As for the source of your news, look at it critically, just as you would if someone on the street told you something. You wouldn’t take that as gospel, so don’t take what CNN or Fox says as gospel. Read more than one outlet. That’s something not a lot of people do, they hear something and accept it. It may be difficult since (according to the infographic) 90% of the media is controlled by six companies, but it’s not impossible. Bottom line, in my opinion, be just as critical about what you put in your family’s brain as you do their bellies.

    • I definitely agree with you Chas; it’s very important to not only kids but the majority of citizens to keep media in the proper perspective and to also inform others about potential bias, dramatizations, and etc.

    • And when the atmosphere gets too polluted to breathe properly, the answer will be “Just buy your family gas masks”. Super! An answer for everything! What about regulation? No no, that’s never an answer.

      The entire point of regulation is to make sure this type of media consolidation doesn’t occur. Media consolidation is inherently undemocratic.

      • “In 1995, the FCC forbade companies to own over 40 stations yet Clear Channel owns 1,200 stations”

        So tell me, how is that government regulation working out for you.

        Regulation benefits monopolies and the status quo. The worse that will ever happen to Clear Channel is a fine will get slapped on them which they could easily afford.

        If the same fine were slapped on a fledgeling radio start-up, it would cripple the company, and I’m sure Clear Channel would be more than happy to alert the government to any FCC regulations a fledgeling group violated.

      • You’re right, if you see a problem you should fix it not just live with it. That’s what civilization and culture and progress should do. But when there’s no solid right or wrong anymore, we devolve

        • Who told you there is no right and wrong anymore? The TV?

          Right and wrong have always been immutable. What has changed?

          Maybe, it is just the the external sources of most peoples opinions are so wrong, that they can’t tell the difference any more.

          Turn off your TV and keep your internet connection switched on and stop being frightened of your neighbors and community and start talking again.

          Fear causes division and makes us weak, it is not a new trick.

          One of the tragic lessons from history, is that people don’t learn the lessons from history.

          Truth and Love, are our only solution.

      • Bill Clinton actually helped progress the consolidation of the media monopolies(ministry of truth) for his parties political benefit. See how far our little hysterical party has grown due to the trumpeters in the peanut gallery humming the same tune.

    • Well put… It’s not a giant evil conspiracy. It’s just crass commercialism and (mostly) mindless info-tainment. Television IS advertising -that’s how the conglomerates make money. It’s a business; the only reason the major networks put programs in between the commercials is because you wouldn’t watch the commercials if they didn’t. Everyone should support their local National Public Radio station because while NPR isn’t perfect, it at least gives you actual, real journalism that pulls stories and information from a wide range of respected national and international sources, many of them non-commercial .

      • Big government is just as bad as big business, and doubly bad when their in cahoots. NPR news anymore is just as stale and worked over as network news. Nobody seems to ask hard questions of people anymore. Who owns the Rolling Stone magazine I wonder.

        • I am more disappointed in C-Span in the past years than any of the regular stations. They never cover anything unless it is the American Enterprise Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute. But I guess that is the price you pay to keep the subsidy of the cable companies.
          Warner Brothers Cable has already announced they would would not offer Current’s new owner, Al Jazeera. So much for freedom of speech.

      • One might check newspapers (online) from other countries, English versions if you don’t know the language. English Al Jazeera is great. Also the British, French, German, and Italian papers often have a slant you won’t find in the U.S. media. And it might be good to see what the Russians, Chinese, Japanese think.

    • I don’t agree with you. I did… a few years ago. Now I think that the news has so removed itself from information and become an agenda, that I only watch parody of the news. I get information from all over the internet. as well as parts of the world. I don’t think it is enough any longer to feed children a few ideas and not expect the tide to take them. If you aren’t at the point where you have opened their minds, already, to Many venues… and showed them the ultimate importance of thinking for themselves, through cross referencing, hearing both sides, finding out where the rabbit wholes meet, connect, make sense… etc, you have lost.I know adults who believe everything they see, on 1 station, and I would bet you any normal adult would have given their kid the same advice you have..

    • It’s sad so many people aren’t concerned whether they’re being told the truth or not. As much of a problem as what we’re fed by the media is also what is NOT told or reported on. My question is, whatever happened to our monopoly laws? Why don’t they apply here?

  2. Jason, Thanks so much for being a voice of reason. One day I sat down and estimated how much I had spent on cable TV in my life time- the last 30 years. Somewhere between $22-$24000 dollars. That’s THOUSANDS. JUST on cable. Investing that would have yielded a 6 fold increase. Regrets abound ! Today I can yell “I am cable FREE !” Sure I dont get the variety with cable but get excellent picture with a $100 HD antennae. Sure my kids miss the trendy- yet mindless reality shows (Have you ever seen “Dance Moms” ?)- but I know that I am doing them a favor not allowing their minds to be polluted by the “big 6 media cartel” in your recent infographic. People have to get mad- and yell I am not going to play their game anymore !!!!!! They’ll be free when they do !

  3. Thanks for the infographic; it shows the reality that is difficult to get across in words. The FCC has been a vehicle for this consolidation. Many connections. Finding independent news is getting more and more difficult.

  4. I’m really digging these infographics you are making. I’m a little confused about something on this one though. It says that AOL is a notable property of Time Warner but AOL bought Time Warner in 2001? Wouldn’t that make Time Warner a property of AOL? Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

    • I agree, the infographic is great but perhaps is required to simplify things for purposes of the image clarity? Probably because most of the subentities are actually under Time Warner’s umbrella, though technically itself is under AOL. I’m not sure but I feel similarly about Comcast and GE – Comcast I thought was a seperate entity which purchased NBCU from GE, not a subentity.

      • “In 2000 AOL and Time Warner merged under the name AOL Time Warner. The merger was not fruitful and on May 28, 2009, Time Warner announced that it would spin off AOL into a separate public company. The spinoff occurred on December 9, 2009, ending the eight-year relationship between the two companies.”

  5. Media Consolidation is a significant contributor to the state of American politics and the (lack of) public discourse. As with many arenas, the FCC as a government entity has been taken over by the very corporate interests it was set up to regulate. Yet another example of what the Occupy movement is protesting.

    Seek independent media**, stop watching TV (you and your children will benefit), write your Representatives.

    **I own an internet radio station that used to broadcast on FM, until the signal was sold out from under us as part of a consolidation effort.

    • Nearly all but one of the 6 MegaMedia companies donate to one US political party. What does that say about “who” controls what is said/heard/learned/taught? I sadly miss the days of AOR radio that was free and not rotating the same content every 8 hours.

  6. I’m not sure if this is correct but The Atlantic is not owned by any of the big six. plus they have some interesting articles too

  7. Comcast puchased NBC from GE. Comcast is not owned by GE, it is a publicly traded company (CMCSA trading in NASDAC)

  8. Since when does GE own Comcast? That’s not an accurate way to portray Comcast’s purchase of NBC from GE. Comcast is eventually planning to take all of NBC (not just a majority stake) from GE.

  9. “The infographic isn’t quite correct. Comcast owns a majority stake in NBCUniversal, with GE owning the rest.” ~ A friend

    Figured I’d pass it on ^_^

  10. Minor mistake: 232 executives serving 277 million people means that each executive “controls the information diet” of 1.194.000 people, slightly more than the 850.000 mentioned in the graphic. Which of course only adds to the significance of the graphic.

  11. I’ve been squinting and trying to cross my eyes, but I can’t make out the stereographic imagery. What is it? I am guessing 3D Godzilla or some other media monster. Perhaps 3D Rupert Murdoch stomping on the planet?

  12. Nice idea, but the infographic is full of factual errors. How do you expect for this to be taken seriously when even basic calculations on the graph are wrong.

    1. Time Warner and AOL split a long time ago. When the merger happened Time Warner paid for AOL (AOL never owned Time Warner) and after the separation AOL and Huff Post merged (so Huff Post was never under Time Warner) – you need to correct both your facts, and your numbers on that chart.

    2. Comcast is not owned by GE. Comcast is buying NBC Universal from GE and the deal takes several years to complete.

    3. 232 media execs for 277 million americans comes down to 1.19 Million americans per executive. If this basic calculation is so obviously wrong, how do you expect people to believe the rest of the data.

    These are just the ones I noticed at first glance. Rule # 1 of journalism – make sure you get your facts and math straight.

    On a separate note, check the correlation of single proprietors vs publicly owned companies on your chart. You may notice media companies that are owned by a single proprietor (vs a public company) have a distinct political skew that follows the owner’s agenda.

      • Also, the Australian is also not the top newspaper in Australia, when you get one fact so obviously wrong without some basic research, it brings into question the rest of the articles authenticity. Sorry but this seems like a cheap grab for attention but no basis.

    • the response by frugalady touched on the errors but stated tht single props vs publ cos have a distinct political skew from the owners agenda,

      the public companies’ agenda, are not completely owned by their shareholders but by political and financially motivated leanings.

      news reporting aside, the bias from each of these companies is pretty well geared to the US industrial complex of power and greed.

      Anything broadcast might do to the contrary is seen as temporary and usually a means to the endgame.

  13. Isn’t the premise of this graphic that 90% of media companies produce 90% of the content that is read, watched or listened to? Is this the case? It’s certainly not in my case but I’m willing to believe it may be for the population on average. However, without that data, it’s kind of hard to know whether things are as dire as you make them sound or not.

  14. Let’s remember every time we think of this please let look at former Pres. Bill Clinton. You sign some huge bill during including the TeleCommunication Act

  15. Ingesting what most media today is offering is like going to a Baskin Robbins for ice cream. You have a lot of flavors to choose from but it is still the same base ingredients delivered by one interest.

    I would not be so quick to exclude NPR or independents like Washington Post either. They may not be entirely compromised but they do have editorial positions and journalists that sing out of the same corporatist song books.

  16. Great Graphic! I would love to see this info available in text form. The reason for this is in order to easily cite this as a reference. The second is so that I can easily access the reference section and verify facts for myself.

    • you clearly missed the entire point of this. they are all a part of the same system. Dont trust any of them and research yourself.

  17. Follow the money is one of my rants. Linked this to my Facebook account. Gregory Bateson, Cultural Anthropologiest and student of beliefs said “The more maps of the terraine, the closer to the truth.” Sadly, we are not getting mostly two ranting view. So many of my friends from either side only read or listen to what supports their views.

  18. Hello, I love your info graphics (I really do) but I’ve got a small concern about the top newspapers in the World. For Australia and the US the graphic might be right, but Europe is far to diverse to allow one top newspaper. Outside the UK and Ireland, the SUN does not have any real relevance. Maybe one corporation owns all the top ones in the different countries, but the language barrier alone stops big newspapers at the borders.

  19. The media is an essential part of society and undoubtedly shapes everything we see, hear and understand. Lots of people talk about how the media doesn’t influence them but it invariably does.

  20. It would also be interesting to know to what extent ‘big media six’ (as well as other alleged ‘top brands’ in US) are owned by foreign dollars…

  21. In other words, if BM = 90%, and OWS = 99%, (given BM is a subset of the 1%), then since 99% > 90%, there is room for hope, so thanks for the wake up call.

    Informed citizens need to consume broader sources of information for decision making purposes, as the qualitative and bias factors in the 90% will lead to less innovative thinking, and a more probable realization of some version of a Bradbury-Vonnegut-Asimov future state of automatons in a death spiral of resource consumption behaviors that may look a lot like those lemmings….

  22. We do not need to regulate this. What we need is to deregulate and return to competition and a free-market in order to create more companies so that the big boys do not win. Milton Friedman has been saying this for decades.

    • That is a profoundly incorrect statement regarding the properties of free market economies.

      Um, where to begin?

      How would deregulation encourage competition in this scenario? Similar to automotive manufacturing perhaps?

      And who exactly is going to create a competitive organization that will rival any one of these six in size, influence, or audience? A reasonable conclusion would be that unchecked free markets have created such significant barriers to entry in this industry that no one company will be created anytime soon that would survive the aggression of its competitors. And, if you do create such a company are you telling us that you would turn down a billion dollar offer from any one of these six to snatch you up?

  23. I was excited to see this infographic and would have linked to it except for a glaring error – GE does NOT own Comcast! Comcast owns a 51% (controlling) interest in NBC Universal. GE still owns 49% – but (I repeat) does NOT own Comcast. I hope you will correct and re-post.

  24. Eddie, we DO need to regulate this. Look at the graphics: there are tons of other companies out there, but they’re being squashed by the big 6. The free market led us to this place; it was because the FCC stopped breaking up monopolies and oligopolies that this happened. Market failure is a real thing, and the free market is not a magic wand that can we can use to wave away all our problems. Stop thinking that it is please.

  25. Comcast is not a monopoly in NYC – although NYC is carved up into distinct coverage areas (for example I can only get cablevision; across the street it’s only Time Warner; Verizon Fios will be available as diret competition eventually but comcast isn’t available anywhere in Brooklyn as far as I know) we have cablevision, verizon, comcast, and time warner in NYC.

  26. Also, anyone find it odd that Sony is omitted from the big six, considering that (among other things), they’re the producers of Jeopardy (CBS is just the distributor).

  27. Your facts on radio are outdated by YEARS, which leads me to worry that that may be the case with your other “facts” in this “infographic.” For instance, Clear Channel sold off all of its stations in markets 101 and smaller – roughly 400 stations – years ago, which means that they own NOTHING in Minot, ND…LOL. But let’s be clear: I’m not defending Clear Channel. I’m defending fact-checking.

  28. This post was a big misstep on an otherwise excellent blog. I like reading your site. I can relate to it, I get some nice tips, and I get reminded of other smart shopping/money tips I already know. But (and it’s a big but), please make sure you research your research. In other words, not everything you look up on the interwebs is current. It’s also full of flat-out misinformation.

    Statistics can be twisted, as well. Like the one about the song “Mrs. Robinson” getting played 6 million times in the 43 years since it was released as a single (assuming your info is current to 2011, which I’m worried it’s not). Considering all of the radio stations in this country that would play that song over 43 years, that’s not too bad, actually! Saying “that’s like listening to the song back-to-back for 32 years in a row” is just silly and meaningless. It’s those kinds of statements that breeds skepticism and doubt about the integrity of the information.

  29. One media exec to 1.2 million people not 850k, your math is backwards.

    850,000 (people) x 232 (execs) = 197,200,000 not 277 million.

  30. A lot of people bitching in the comments about little stuff. Great graphic. Keep up the great work.

  31. You confirm my fears that today the minds of a few are leading or misleading the many. It is very easy today with technology to ‘spin’ and manipulate data and visual to direct the minds of people. My greatest concern is the lack of basic education competence in our nation, that can easily be pursuaded by the voice of a few. Few leaders today ‘walk the talk.’

  32. What this graphic does not explain is how this came to be. The internet. Free news simply pushed smaller news organizations to either consolidate or go out of business. It was the only way to survive. Who wants to pay for news? Apparently, almost no one. The key point to all this is YOU DON’T HAVE TO WATCH OR READ THE 90%. There is still the 10% that isn’t owned by a large corporation.

    • Mike, maybe paying for news has nothing to do with this scenario.

      These unnatural monopolistic mega-media-corporations don’t get their money from viewers. They get their money from advertisers, and they have found that if they shape the viewers’ thoughts to be favorable and ripe for their advertisers, then the viewers can be worth more to their advertisers.

      In media and publishing, the reader/viewer’s attention is the product. The product is sold to the advertiser. Understanding that fundamental fact is the foundation to any discussion about the media 🙂

  33. Regulations one has to be very careful what they wish for. Regulating the media could bring back the old state of American media in which there was a complete lack of discourse, where you woke up and ate breakfast with the New York Times and ate dinner with Dan Rather.

    The Europeans have this problem with their media. Many may think the Europeans are more wordly than Americans, but they aren’t, they’re actually more restricted in the media they see, because their media is either very regulated by the government (free speech over there is a lot more controlled) or their media is for the most part outright run by the government. This is because they don’t trust the free-market to handle news reporting, so their idea is to put the government in charge (!!!), to make sure the news is factual, accurate, objective, and so forth. Of course, the result of this is the complete opposite, and the media tends to be very lacking in facts, inaccurate, and subjective, because the people controlling it are mostly of one political persuasion (socially democratic).

    When media is regulated like this, who decides exactly what constitutes balance? For many social democrats, for example, what is a centrist position is clearly a leftwing position to someone on the Right. And what to many on the Right is being center-right is clearly right-wing to a social democrat. One can see this with our current President, Barack Obama, whom to many on the Left is a centrist, to many on the Right is a far-left European-style social democrat. Things get even more thorny when one gets into the issue of who decides what constitutes things like bias, racism, bigotry, etc…all of this makes it very difficult to maintain true balance when having a monopoly (government) on the news, as what one person may call biased or racist another person would greatly object to. Listening to the European media in the run-up to the Iraq War, one might not have even been aware that there were arguments for invading Iraq, for example. When media is controlled by people of a single political persuasion, they can end up falling into the trap of reminding the masses how they’re “supposed” to think, as opposed to introducing fresh ideas into the debate.

    Now in the United States, we have a much more diverse media selection. You have everything from Fox News (right-wing) to MSNBC (left-wing), to the others (CBS, ABC, CNN, NPR—most of the television news lean left), to talk radio (most of which leans rightwing), to everything from the Washington Times and the New York Post to the New York Times and the Washington Post. You have rightwing publications and leftwing publications. On the Internet, there is great diversity, everything from Breitbart to Huffington Post and Media Matters.

    Fiery polemic and intense debate on all the issues occur in all of these mediums, to a degree never before-scene in this nation’s history, and to a much greater degree than anything seen in Europe (where regulations and government presence on media are heavy).

    So regarding regulations, be very careful what you wish for. Regulations were okay back when say there were only three television channels, so you had rules to mandate balance (and even then, it was a thorny issue), but nowadays, things are much different.

    • Kyle- the media is already regulated because the government sells off the airwaves rather than leaving the space to the free market. They make it so only huge wattage’s are legal and so they destroy all the little guys by regulating them out of existence. We need to get the FCC out of the game altogether and leave media licensing to the states and / or free market.

    • While we could just be talking about two subjective viewpoints here, I don’t understand why you think your selection of news is better than a state-run choice that is being offered in parts of Europe (like here in Germany). America (apart from NPR) does not offer you unbiased news. And while nobody could say that NPR or public media in Germany is unbiased it is their mission to try! The difference with privately owned media companies is that they don’t even dare to try. They will, by the nature of their business is done modify their news to benefit them in some way. If, for example, they know they would get more money from a certain presidential candidate, they will support him by using their networks and resources. This might not always be very obvious to the viewer, but it is a common practice. This is just one of countless examples (Advertising partners would be another). Now while government has its obligation to support certain views (like Germany with its obligation to support a state of israel after WWII) it does not mean that criticism is not being done. So while you do have a choice between several privately owned media and news outlets in Europe, our government (in my case the government of Germany) does a better job than (at least that’s my opinion). Most Americans though still have an outdated mindset and don’t know about the realities in other countries. To be honest, viewing how the US evolved over the past decade makes me glad not to be there anymore. Sure, I miss the english language (I was always fascinated by it) but standard of life, health care, etc. is much better. I might not have the extra money around to buy myself an airplane or build a theme park named after me, but life is good, the people are nice and home is where your heart is. And trust me on this, I loved being in America, but it’s just not the country you read about in history book anymore..

  34. That’s worrisome. I can personally attest to this as I have recently been having trouble finding “independent” , as in reports only current events w/o commentary, sources for news. Recently I have especially been alarmed by obvious media “blackouts” specifically in the occupy wallstreet news and blatantly by all media vs. presidential candidate Ron Paul. Don’t infer this as political leaning. It’s just an example of a powerfull strategy that can be employed as a result of media conglomeration.

  35. All of this is the result of FCC regulations. Consider radio for a moment… why don’t we have thousands of microbroadcast stations per state? It’s because the FCC only allows for huge 25,000 watt licenses. It’s illegal to run a small independent radio station. The truth is, radio equipment is extremely cheap (you can buy your own station with a 5 mile radius for about $1K) but the government attaches massive fees and wattage minimums to make it so only the big guys can get into the game. Everywhere you see corruption, if you look, you also see government- and the media is no exception.

  36. One thing to think about…

    This infographic seems to insinuate that some of this media money should be funneled into government programs. There were a few comparisons of the amount of money involved in something related to media compared with money spent on certain government programs.

    All of this monopoly creating activity is from acts of government. If the media were a free market, there would be no consolidation.

    Just like if investing were a free market, there would be no Wall Street.

    So, this infographic tells an important tale (media is now very consolidated, unnaturally). But the same infographic is softly suggesting more of the cause of the problem—government.

    Perhaps this infographic would spread further and help more if it were stripped of the “give us more of the cause of the problem” thinking?

  37. you know, all i can think about when reading this…

    Chomsky told us all of this decades ago.

  38. I’m not sure that it matters who owns what and what the number actually are. In this economy WHO KNOWS what those numbers will be in a day from now. Everything is so up and down these days. And the affiliation with GE & Comcast… Who do you think makes that fancy little Comcast box that magically makes your TV talk? And the remote that makes it change with the press of a button. The fact of the matter is TV is a hypnotic death trap no matter who’s on top of the list. Its goes deeper than just that. It sends subliminal messages to our brains programming us the way the government wants us to think. We’re like little lab rats. Sad, but true.

    • In reply to Julie thank you I agree with what you said. My sons are now grown up and left home a long time ago. I know my youngest son who is 28 does not watch T.V. at all. He used to but he says mum I don’t watch now because to him there is nothing worth wasting his time on. I used to tell my children when they were young exactly what you said. About the T.V. sending out subliminal messages. What we watch and put into us will affect the way we think. We use our T.V set now to watch good quality teaching and preaching and also on D.V.Ds from Bill Winston and those he associates with. I live in Queensland, Australia. We don’t get the variety of channels to watch here as you do in America, but we still have some of the same content. I have visited America many times over the last 35 years and have made many quality friends there.
      As I say Julie, the remote control can be used to turn off what you don’t want coming into your living room. Parental control is now available so parents can stop what they don’t want their children to watch. We have the internet and can if we want to watch the world news, but as some of you say what is truth, take what you hear with a grain of salt. Can you really believe what is said. Even during the last world war propaganda was put out there to fool the people. Mankind has always had this problem of not reporting the truth so it is nothing new in our day and age. It is just that we hear more about it these days. You will always have with us those who want to control the masses with their ideas and this is exactly what we have, just in a larger scale. We have a choice to listen or switch off, believe or not believe. A choice process we need to make each day.

  39. What we see is the arts and media have consolidated to a few corporate hands so we don’t have any real competition for good art. They play it safe, produce generic art, and refuse to talk about independent artists opposed to this. We’re left with the Big 6, who do all three: make the art, distribute the art, then give themselves a great review on their review sites. The best way to break them up – is to allow them to do one of those 3 – make the art, distribute it, or review it, but not all three.

  40. Not sure how old your info is, but there are 2 radio stations in Minot, ND that are not owned by Clear Channel.

  41. Owned mass media does not equal media control. Especially in the complex media environment of 2012. While its important to remain aware of media consumption – to limit it to TV, cable, and traditional broadcast media is dishonest. Part if the reason broadcast production has been consolidated is due in part to the proliferation of alternate and digital media channels. (as I write this SNL is on in the background – clearly im more engaged with the web than TV)

    Put it this way: in 1983 there was no Frugal Dad, or Facebook, YouTube, twitter or thousands of other content producing ‘channels’ that compete with mass media for our attention. Leaving these out of your graph assumes that its the same world as 1983 which its clearly NOT. There has never been a MORE diverse media production landscape and the existence of your website is proof of that.

    Thank you for the graph and insight-but I think a major piece of the puzzle has been ommotted for dramatic effect (an unfortunate flaw often found in this otherwise wonderful new media landscape).

  42. it is more like 5 companies considering Viacom and CBS are both majority owned by National Amusements and both are controlled by Sumner Redstone. They were split into two separate companies for stock reasons.

    “Sumner Redstone, the family’s 83-year-old patriarch. He controls National Amusements, which owns 71 percent of the voting shares of CBS and Viacom.”

  43. i guess if you choose not to decide what you think someone else will make those choices for you?

    (might be a bit of a late response, my apologies)

  44. Well done Jason, this is actually one of thee very best infographics I’ve seen … it succinctly tells the reader all the information they need to know. I didn’t realise that a small group of only 6 corporations with a total of 232 media executives ruled the media world. Thank you

  45. I think its time for Chomsky.. Pretty good read even if you don’t want to watch his TV show.. Well that would be if he is every allowed on of course..

  46. I suggest at least mentioning, if not celebrating, public media as an alternative. For example, Minot, ND is not 100% Clear Channel. Thankfully, public radio is there–KMPR 88.9fm.

  47. I’d worry about math literacy too. It isn’t 850,000 subscribers to every exec, but well more than a million. It should be obvious by inspection that 277 mill over 232 is over a million. That this was not picked up by anyone before it was published worries me. But who uses their brain anymore to notice that 277/232 must be greater than 1?. Nobody here obviously. Just enter the numbers (backwards) into the calculator and believe what you get without thinking. Sheesh.

  48. Reading the comments, I see my objection was made a few times before. My main point is this really could only happen when people are no longer taught to use inspection, or arithmetical dead reckoning, to see if their answer makes any sense. Now we just trust the machine, which of course fails us if we put in the numbers backwards. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard the phrase, garbage in, garbage out, in quite a while.

  49. Thank you – this is a fabulous graphic. I write about issues relating to overscheduling, overparenting, and kids not having enough time to play, explore the natural world, and use their imagination. I’ve been writing (somewhat) steadily about it on my blog for two years, and strangely, I’ve just now sort of gotten to the horrifying foundation of all these “minor” disasters (recess being cut, crazy achievement obsession, technology-addiction, the devaluing of things like community, time with family, serving others, playing outside). It all has to do with corporate-controlled media. And I feel like this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist. But that’s what it is!

  50. Very interesting article. I noticed that all the citations are websites. Are there any other scholarly sources/journals that are able to provide the information?

  51. The math is incorrect. 277m /232 is 1.2m per exec. Perhaps it was supposed to be 322 execs? That would be about 850,000 per exec.

  52. Yes, I think getting news from more than one source is a good start.
    Having visited Los Angeles and been in live theatre, you have to take everything with a grain of salt, that is the closer you get to the source
    of news and entertainment, the more you realize it’s just a show.

  53. I’m interested in seeing a list of the media outlets in the 10%. Factual errors aside, this is frightening. A few mistakes doesn’t denigrate the point of or validity of the message of this post.. The message needs to be spread, and people need to shake off their complacency. This would never have happened 30 years ago. With all of the shady dealings going on in various corporations and within out government, where is the outrage? Where are the protests? The riots? We need to light a fire underneath the arses of America as a whole. I watch very little TV, and this will probably cause me to watch even less. I love NPR. Being youngish (30) I tend to get funny looks from people when I tell them I listen regularly. Most have the attitude that talk radio is only for the elderly. It’s sad, really.

  54. go to for family- friendly shows from a producer who is not associated with these outlets. You can also find Hallmark HLl of Fame films there for less than $3/mth subscription. The films are very high quality and will spark discussions with your kids. Support independent film making if you don’t like what you’re seeing from major media.

  55. I love this. I love how Jason had put all this effort into researching and compiling the infographic, but mostly the fact that he had thought about it and figured there is a problem in the first place that has to be addressed and discussed. Few people see the bigger picture and try thinking outside the box. Mostly they say, aw, that’s the way it is, but don’t ask why.

    Personally, I don’t own a television set. I haven’t watched TV in almost 6 years, and I feel more informed and better entertained than ever. I rely on the Internet for most of those things – movies, news, even radio, and I am very happy with the choices I’m given.

  56. I love your infographic.! You did well. Looks like one big monopoly thanks to deregulation. I didn’t know that Disney owned Pixar! Cable? I waste money on it while it never gets watched not because of any personal protest, but because it is boring! I look up all my infotainment and entertainment online by way of search engines. I prefer to find news of interest to me through blogs or multiple news sources that aren’t central news feeds. You can find news directly from people where the news is happening at any moment now. News goes viral. It gets blogged. Whatever’s in the major news media? Its usually ho hum conventional and it won’t hurt you to miss it. CNN? Last place I bother looking. First place? Internet keyword search. I may be one of the few young people that likes to prowl libraries, often in search of curiously old books. Its rather fascinating to check out a random book that has a published date before 1880. I marvel at the fact that that book is 100+ years old and I have it in my hand. OK, that was bizarrely random but my point is that there’s no need to pay attention to media hype. In fact, life’s fantastic without constant bombardment of the media produced by those big six companies or the rest. Its better to tune the constant media feeders off. Why? Whether you believe it or not, what you watch (even if its just out the corner of your eye) has an influence on your thinking. The same media feed can homogenize people’s beliefs and creativity. And, there’s kind of a conflict of interest between objective journalism and these companies profit objectives (wouldn’t want to offend potential advertisers). That kind of makes the news a very narrow feed. I think that’s why Waldorf schools happen to be technology free zones. At these schools, kids even hand draw their own textbooks! I think that’s marvelous. These kids aren’t techno-free because they have all their gizmos at home. At least their school is commercial free. Kids shouldn’t be targeted by marketers. Enough from me! My comment is drifting into random chaos inspired by your marvelous infographic.

  57. Not sure what Frugal Dad’s point is. Today we have far more choice than ever, with or without those 28 companies owned by 6 mega-corporations. Just a click away on Google, you’ll find 100s of genres of music, internet radio, sub genres, alternative news, independent news, BBC, Al Jazeera, Utne Reader, Mother Jones, Nation, far left, far right, libertarian, anarchy, socialist, communist, you name it, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Wikipedia, podcasts, alter net, Drudge, satellite radio, skate-punk emo cross-dresser hardcore ska from South America, 100s of niche cable TV channels, PBS, imports, classic movies, film noir, foreign film, cult movies, Sundance, social media, blogs, Jeezus, the list goes on and on.

  58. Far too many comments for me to read all of them, but I’ll still add my $.02 worth of opinion. I now consider everything I see and hear on main stream media outlets as lies. Sure, if there is a fire or an accident somewhere the networks may have their helicopters flying overhead and you can be reasonably certain there actually is a fire or accident. Otherwise, on political issues, foreign affairs, including wars, information like that, I distrust our media outlets completely. For a while I streamed RT and was pretty happy with the content, but recently even they have dropped the ball and on many issues deliver the same version of events that you see on Fox News and CNN (see gun control). It’s so disappointing I hardly bother to keep up with events anymore. I will read Paul Craig Roberts’ articles because he doesn’t lie and can explain difficult things like credit default swaps, things I don’t see often and would not otherwise understand. The whole system will have to collapse beyond government bailout for us to perhaps be able to rebuild a properly functioning news system that viewers and readers can trust.

  59. This may will mark the 5th year without TV or cable television. I am so much better off. I read books, listen to audiobooks and when I need news I go to the web. As a Christian I finally came to the conclusion that there’s no one thing on TV that agrees with my beliefs and God can’t compete with TV so why should I.

    • You sound like a shill for the Saudi’s who actually have the control.
      Do they pay you well to get us to look away from the real their of Islamic global dominance ?
      Like the Chinese they’ve bought into America,practically owning Bush and Obama as well as a 19% share of Fox News,etc.
      Think about that every time you gas up sir !

  60. My answer to this is to get all of my media consumption through the internet. I choose who I give money to. Netflix I subscribe to so that I don’t have to buy more DVDs. What I can’t find there I find on amazon or Other than that I get information through my friends and blogs both local and international. The consumer of information has a choice he or she just has to make the choice of where to consume media.

  61. I think it is funny that they compare revenue to my homeland, Finland. I guess the numbers fit :P.

  62. Very insightful. Found this on some other site, shared, traced it back to you and then re-shared with your link.