click for full infographic

Media Consolidation Infographic
Source: Frugal dad

Hat tip Upworthy

Category: Digital Media, Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

21 Responses to “Media Consolidation: The Illusion of Choice”

  1. Winston Munn says:

    I always wondered why only 10% of my comme

  2. mpavan says:

    Barry, surely you didn’t just notice. Chomsky (and others) has been writing about the slow motion concentration of media for decades now. The 1983 baseline is already a huge concentration from earlier decades.

    there is no such thing as a ‘free press’ in North america, nor ‘free markets’ for that matter, at least in the sense that most ordinary people naively assume they mean.

    Maybe a tipping point of public realization is getting closer. would be about time, though it likely will get very ugly when it happens.

  3. Conan says:

    I travel and work in the so called Developing Countires extensively. If you pay attention you will notice that no matter where they made their original fortune, they soon diverst into, Media (TV, News Paper, Radio, etc), finance (Banks & Insurance) and spending money on politics. This is when you know a wealthy family has made it and is truely powerful.

    The above is just another confermation that the Developing world is catching up in many ways to the Developed and the Devloped world is becoming more like the Undeveloped. Another example is the story earleir today on a woman’s education and if she is or is not married extrapolated into where the children end up and the growing social economic devide. There are many, many examples. Infrastructure in the US is appalling. It is shock just to get on an Airport in US and out of another in a different country.

  4. algernon says:

    NBC, CBS, & ABC evening news have gone beyond bias. I can’t imagine their coverage being any different if they were run by Obama’s muscle, David Axelrod. None of these between now & Nov. will focus on any issue in a way that reflects negatively on Obama.

    For instance, isn’t it a scandal that everyone on welfare gets a cellphone at the expense of others–it cost neither Obama nor the Democratic Party a cent–with the phones being called ‘Obamaphones’? But for the mainstream media, this use of govt-mandated money for Obama’s advertising is of no interest.

    They focus on the controversy of Obama’s lie regarding outsourcing as if the truth were something they had no interest in determining. If Romney had lied about Obama, can you imagine them not falling all over themselves to manifest that he lied?

    I say this I feel with some objectivity in that I’m no fan of Romney’s.

  5. Moopheus says:

    No, mpavan, Barry doesn’t notice until there’s an infographic that presents the issue in a manner suitable for grade-school children.

  6. Grunschev says:


    Your anger towards Obama for the phone program is misplaced. The programs were started back under Saint Ronnie, in 1984 and 1987. In fact, the program you’re talking about not only started more than 20 years before Obama was elected, it’s funded by telecoms companies and not taxes.

    Methinks you wouldn’t know media bias if it bit you in the @ss.

  7. machinehead says:

    What do these media giants represent? Mostly, newspapers (many founded in the 19th century), movies and radio (early 20th century) and television (mid 20th century).

    Through corrupt influence, such as the infamous Sonny Bono copyright extension so that Disney could keep its 1928 Mickey Mouse copyright, they’ve got ‘old media’ locked up in an impregnable castle.

    On the other hand, several million blogs have popped up that didn’t exist 20 years ago. They can’t challenge Old Media on revenue, but they run rings around it when it comes to credibility and influence.

    At the margins, the digital revolution is eating away at the foundations of Old Media. Ask the RIAA. Or the MPAA. The unholy alliance of moguls and politicians isn’t the juggernaut they thought it was.

  8. 873450 says:

    algernon Says:
    isn’t it a scandal that everyone on welfare gets a cellphone at the expense of others–it cost neither Obama nor the Democratic Party a cent–with the phones being called ‘Obamaphones’?

    had to look it up and here’s more flowers for algernon

    “Here’s another Obama program that we taxpayers are footing the bill for. I had a former employee call me earlier today inquiring about a job, and at the end of the conversation he gave me his phone number. I asked the former employee if this was a new cell phone number and he told me yes this was his “Obama phone.” I asked him what an “Obama phone” was and he went on to say that welfare recipients are now eligible to receive (1) a FREE new phone and (2) approx 70 minutes of FREE minutes every month. I was a little skeptical so I Googled it and low and behold he was telling the truth. TAX PAYER MONEY IS BEING REDISTRIBUTED TO WELFARE RECIPIENTS FOR FREE CELL PHONES. This program was started earlier this year. Enough is enough, the ship is sinking and it’s sinking fast. The very foundations that this country was built on are being shaken. The age old concepts of God, family, and hard work have flown out the window and are being replaced with “Hope and Change” and “Change we can believe in.”

    Claim: The Obama administration created a program to provide free cell phones to welfare recipients.


    TRUE: A federal program subsidizes providers who supply cell phones and essential cellular services to low-income consumers.

    FALSE: The telephone service subsidy program was enacted by the Obama administration.

    “As noted on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) web page about Universal Service Support Mechanisms: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress recognize that telephone service provides a vital link to emergency services, government services, and surrounding communities. Telephone service is considered a necessity for daily modern life. Yet the cost of starting and maintaining such service may be too high for some consumers. Under Congressional mandate, the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) supports the Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up America programs. These programs provide discounts on basic monthly service and initial installation or activation fees for telephone service at the primary residence to income-eligible consumers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with the help of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), administers the USF.”

    … contrary to what is suggested in the example quoted above, LifeLine/Link-Up is not an “Obama program” (i.e., one that was initiated by or during the Obama administration). The LifeLine and Link-Up programs were established by the FCC in 1984 and 1987, respectively, during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The SafeLink Wireless service was launched by TracFone in Tennessee in August 2008 and in Florida in September 2008, months before the election that put Barack Obama in the White House.

    algernon happens when an intelligent birther can be taught to write what FOX says.

  9. cbjohn1 says:

    GE owns Comcast?

  10. gordo365 says:

    I’m so confused. How can Obamaphone free cell phones for welfare recipients program have been started before President Obama was elected? and before cellphones were invented?

  11. Union Agitator says:

    Clear Channel killed radio. I don’t even own a radio anymore, and I’m a musician. (On weekends).

  12. Frwip says:


    The program was started in the 80s for phone services in general. Phone operators have recently started to apply it to cellphone plans, recognizing that most eligible individuals are actually more likely to have a cellphone (and no place they can call home) than a land-line.

  13. leeward says:


    #1 fighting the Choice dynamic in modern media businesses is like marking assets to model instead of market. It doesn’t benefit the fulfillment of function and the function is Very Important to our well being as a nation.

    #2 by controlling distribution practices (think: “We allll bundle”) and doing things to create false scarcity, the same content creators are stopping crucial information from being being passed along by the market that could be used to their great advantage. Cooperation with the consumer of content is essential.

    #3 high speed data pipelines, though still relatively new, should be operated like utilities for the public well being. How many other public services have we seen this outcome evolve historically? The blockages that exist because of consolidation are doing a lot to stop Choice from evolving. Spectrum should be leased and not owned, though I doubt that one will come up for vote anytime soon. It’s a new era and our collective needs have changed.

    Fulfilling Choice means retooling & specialization, not more consolidation. It also means acknowledging old bad debt. The reality of “underwater” has been around for a decade in many parts of the content business though it is rarely talked about and is not evident in this infographic.

  14. realitician says:

    Yes, professional media has been consolidated into a few companies. No, most people don’t spend much time with any of them. The internet has fractured the old model of TV and newspapers. Now anyone can play. Even Barry Ritholtz, who I’ve been reading all evening.

    The old model these companies represent is in financial trouble. That’s why that business has condensed. You have to own a lot of outlets to have a shot at making a profit. Even then it’s pretty shakey. I wouldn’t invest in any of them.

  15. louiswi says:

    Can we all agree on just one notion.
    FOX stands for Friends Of Xtremists.
    In future postings can we just say according to the Friends of Xtremists network, Obama is….._____fill in the blank.
    This is about all you’re gonna learn from this discussion.

  16. boveri says:

    Since when does GE own Comcast? Unless they bought them this afternoon I could have missed it.

  17. algernon says:

    Why does the welfare recipient I know call it his free cellphone his Obama phone?

  18. ConscienceofaConservative says:

    Fortunately it’s not just tv, but radio, internet and newspapers, and globalization allows access to foreign opinions as well.

  19. formerlawyer says:

    @ Moopheus Says:
    No. You do realize this a re-post from December 2011. Search “media” to see all 2300+ posts on this regard.

  20. lippard says:

    @boveri: GE owns neither Comcast nor NBC. It sold a majority stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast. So Comcast should be listed as a 7th U.S. media giant, or replace GE…

  21. 873450 says:

    algernon Says:
    “Why does the welfare recipient I know call it his free cellphone his Obama phone?”

    That’s an easy question to answer since your rant changed from “everyone on welfare” to “the welfare recipient I know. – Just like you algernon, your friend on welfare gets all his facts from FOX without ever questioning the propaganda.

    Reagan simultaneously called them “welfare queens” while giving them free phones.