Media Ownership, the real-life “Owned”

Owned was a popular Facebook game that allowed you to buy and sell your friends virtually through the application. It all came down to who was willing to pony up the most Facebook cash.

Real life works that way too. Except it’s for, like, real stuff and not students’ photos from spring break.

So here we’ll take a look at who owns what, a real-life Owned, among some of the largest media companies.

What was once referred to as The Big Six, may now be Seven after Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal from GE in January.

Recent moves: NBC Universal to Comcast

In late January of 2011, the nation’s largest cable TV company, Comcast, purchased NBC Universal from GE, which included stake in Hulu.

Hulu is now jointly owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and global private equity investment first Providence Equity Partners. In the sale of NBC Universal to Comcast, GE had to relinquish its decision-making power and 32% stake of Hulu.

The NBC Universal-to-Comcast deal gave Comcast 51% control of NBC Universal, now labeled NBCUniversal (no space and no peacock). Previously, GE owned 80 percent. Prior to the sale, GE purchased the remaining 20 percent stake from Vivendi Universal. GE’s stake in NBCUniversal is now 49 percent, though according to USA Today the company plans to completely remove its shares over the next eight years.

The Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission included provisions in the deal that prevent Comcast from blocking NBC programming to other providers. As part of the deal, Comcast agreed to let NBC programming air on its rivals networks including Netflix.

THE MEDIA OWNERSHIP TREE

Showing the Big Seven and noteworthy properties and services. A work in progress, this will be updated as I dig deeper into the companies and their subsidiaries. This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a quick look at ownership and any connections between companies, joint ownership, and subsidiaries.

media-ownership-tree2

OWNERSHIP AMONG THE BIG SEVEN

The above tree, spelled out. This is a work in progress and will be updated and/or revised throughout the year. This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a quick look at ownership and any connections between companies.

General Electric

“General Electric media-related holdings include television networks NBC and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, 26 television stations in the United States and cable networks MSNBC, Bravo and the Sci Fi Channel.” freepress.net

GE: CNBC, USA, A&E MSNBC, NBC, NBC UNIVERSAL % (COMCAST %), HISTORY CHANNEL, WEATHER CHANNEL %

THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

“The Walt Disney Company owns the ABC Television Network, cable networks including ESPN, the Disney Channel, SOAPnet, A&E and Lifetime, 277 radio stations, music and book publishing companies, production companies Touchstone, Miramax and Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, the cellular service Disney Mobile, and theme parks around the world.” freepress.net

Disney: DISNEY, DISNEY CHANNEL, SOAPNET, LIFETIME, ABC, ESPN, A&E TELEVISION NETWORK %, NFL.COM % (CBS %), HULU %, WALT DISNEY PICTURES, TOUCHSTONE, MIRAMAX, PIXAR

NEWS CORP.

“News Corporation’s media holdings include: the Fox Broadcasting Company; television and cable networks such as Fox, Fox Business Channel, National Geographic and FX; print publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and TVGuide; the magazines  and SmartMoney; book publisher HarperCollins; film production companies 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Studios; numerous websites including MarketWatch.com; and non-media holdings including the National Rugby League.” freepress.net

News Corp.: FOX, FUEL, FX, 20TH CENTURY FOX, HULU %, MYSPACE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, SPEED, BIG TEN %, WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEW YORK POST, ASKMEN.COM, PHOTOBUCKET.COM, IGN, AMERICANIDOL.COM

TIME WARNER INC

“Time Warner is the largest media conglomerate in the world, with holdings including: CNN, the CW (a joint venture with CBS), HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, America Online, MapQuest, Moviefone, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock and New Line Cinema, and more than 150 magazines including TimeSports IllustratedFortuneMarie Claire and People.” freepress.net

Time Warner: CW%, (CBS %), HBO, CINEMAX, TRUTV, TNT, CNN, WARNER BROS, CASTLE ROCK, NEW LINE CINEMA, CARTOON NETWORK, AOL, HUFFINGTON POST, ENGADGET, TIME, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, PEOPLE, TMZ.COM, PGA.COM, PLAY ON!, FORTUNE, TIME WARNER CABLE

VIACOM

“Viacom holdings include: MTV, Nickelodeon/Nick-at-Nite, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, Atom Entertainment, and music game developer Harmonix. Viacom 18 is a joint venture with the Indian media company Global Broadcast news.” freepress.net

Viacom: MTV, VH1, COMEDY CENTRAL, PARAMOUNT, DREAMWORKS, CMT, TV LAND, SPIKE, BET, NICKELODEON, IFILM.COM (when I visited ifilm.com, it redirected me to screenjunkies.com, which is owned by Break Media. Trying to figure out if Viacom owns Break Media or if there was an acquisition I am not aware of. I’ve sent an inquiry to Break Media and I’m awaiting a response.)

CBS CORPORATION

“CBS Corporation owns the CBS Television Network, CBS Television Distribution Group, the CW (a joint venture with Time Warner), Showtime, book publisher Simon & Schuster, 30 television stations, and CBS Radio, Inc, which has 130 stations. CBS is now the leading supplier of video to Google’s new Video Marketplace.” freepress.net

CBS: CBS NEWS, CBS SPORTS, CW % (TIME WARNER %), CBS RADIO, CLICKR, CBS COLLEGE SPORTS NETWORK, SHOWTIME, MOVIE CHANNEL, FLIX, CNET, LAST.FM, MP3.COM, GAMESPOT, TV.COM

COMCAST

Comcast is the largest cable operator in the United States. The company owns a number of media properties including E!, PBS, CSN, AT&T, Style, G4/TechTV, Golf Channel, a percentage of Hulu in its majority ownership of NBC Universal, which it acquired in late January. GE still owns 49 percent of Universal.

Comcast: NBC UNIVERSAL % (GE %), HULU %, E!, PBS, CSN, AT&T, UNIVERSAL PICTURES, G4/TECHTV, STYLE, GOLF CHANNEL, CABLE, INTERNET, TELEPHONE SERVICE

Update: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, parent company Time Warner, announced Wednesday, May 4, that it is acquiring popular movie-discovery app Flixster and movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. The company reportedly plans to develop a VOD service as part of the acquisitions.

Source: USA Today, Hulu.com, Reuters, New York Times, Boston.com, freepress.net

Images: CNet, Insidesocialgames.com, Smartdestinations.com, Zimedia

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5 thoughts on “Media Ownership, the real-life “Owned””

  1. COMCAST may jointly own NBC Universal but I wanted to let you know about DISH Network who I subscribe to. Since I subscribe to DISH Network I get TV everywhere which is really cool because I can watch any channel I get at home, on-the-go. Most companies limit you on the amount of channels you can watch on-the-go much less some don’t even allow you to be able to watch them outside your home! As a DISH employee I can tell you that with the Sling box you can stream live TV and DVR content right on your iPad, iPhone or even Android. Go to http://www.dishnetwork.com for more info.

    1. Hi, Sharmine. Thanks for the comment. TV everywhere is a great concept. It’s something I haven’t looked into just yet. Though the TV experience is mostly at home, mobile is becoming a big part of our lives on both professional and personal levels.

      I’ll check out dishnetwork.com. Maybe it will lead to another post.

      Thanks again,
      Eric

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