A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company that owns numerous companies involved in mass media enterprises, such as television, radio, publishing, motion pictures, theme parks, or the Internet. According to the magazine Nation, "Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world."
These conglomerates exist all around the world, and they became a standard feature of the global economic system in 1950.
A conglomerate is a large company composed of a number of smaller companies (subsidiaries) engaged in generally unrelated businesses.
Starting in 2007, it was questioned whether media companies actually are unrelated. Some media conglomerates use their access in multiple areas to share various kinds of content such as news, video and music between users. The media sector's tendency to consolidate has caused formerly diversified companies to appear less diverse because, compared with similar companies, it isn't diverse. Therefore, the term media group may also be applied, however, it has not yet replaced the more traditional term.
In the 2016 Forbes Global 2000 list, Comcast was America's largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, with The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, CBS Corporation & Viacom (both are controlled by National Amusements through supervoting shares), and 21st Century Fox comprising the top six .
Like the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also experience the concentration of multiple media enterprises in a few companies. This concentration issue is an ongoing concern for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority.
Critics have accused the large media conglomerates of dominating the media and using unfair practices. This can be seen in the news industry, where corporations refuse to publicize information that would be harmful to their interests. These practices are also suspected of contributing to the merging of entertainment and news (sensationalism) at the expense of the coverage of serious issues. They are also accused of being a leading force behind the standardization of culture (see globalization, Americanization) and are frequently criticized by groups that perceive news organizations as being biased toward special interests.
There is also the concern that the concentration of media ownership reduces diversity in both ownership and programming of TV shows and radio programs. There is also a strong trend in the United States of conglomerates eliminating coverage of local politics in broadcasting, and instead using broadcast automation and voice-tracking, sometimes from another city or another state. Some radio stations use generic satellite-fed programming with no local content, except for the insertion of local radio ads.