Six Corporations Own 90% of News Media – Truth!

 

Summary of eRumor: 

Six corporations own 90% of news media companies in America.

The Truth:

This claim is true.

News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast own 90% of the TV stations, radio stations, movies, magazines and newspapers that 277 million Americans rely on for news and entertainment.

The consolidation of news and entertainment media companies gained attention in early 2015 when an infographic that depicts six media corporations’ chain of ownership went viral on social media.

The infographic is mostly accurate, but it’s a little out of date. It lists General Electric as the owner of NBC, Focus Features, Comcast and Universal Pictures, but General Electric sold its media holdings to Comcast in 2013. That means Comcast has replaced General Electric as one of the six corporations that control 90% of the media.

Media consolidation has been on a fast march over the last 30 years. In 1983, 50 companies owned 90% of American media. Over that time, Congress and the FCC have largely deregulated the media industry. The number of television stations that one company can own jumped from seven to 12 in 1985. The FCC also stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine, it dropped requirements for a minimum amount of non-entertainment programming, and it lifted limits on the amount of advertising that could be broadcast in one hour. Those changes made it easier and more profitable for corporations to own more media properties.

Then, in 1996, President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act, which led to rapid consolidation of the radio industry because it lifted a 40-station ownership cap. A 2004 appeals court decision also struck down even more media ownership rules.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet: