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Media Literacy

The Business of Media

Use this visual display to understand who owns and controls your media. Most of the world’s media is produced in the U.S. How do you think this ownership influences the way that stories from around the globe are told?

Play the game on the left below by matching a major media company with the company’s dollar value. Simply drag and drop the company logo to its financial worth. You’ll know you have the answer right when the logo remains covering the dollar value!

Matching Activity

(from May 2023, based on market value, which is the amount for which something could be sold)


Statista, Aug. 29, 2023. “Largest media companies worldwide 2023, by market value”

Media is a BUSINESS

The companies that create and distribute the entertainment you enjoy are businesses interested in making money. They compete with one another for the attention of audiences.

Over the decades, the number of media companies in the U.S. has gotten far fewer, and the companies remaining have gotten really big. Today’s biggest media companies got so large by buying up the smaller media outlets.

The U.S. government oversees the competition among the country’s media companies. It has mostly had a hands-off approach to regulating what company can own another company.

Big Companies Own Many Smaller Companies

Check out these holdings by some of the biggest U.S.-based media companies on the planet:

Comcast Logo

Comcast: It owns MSNBC, USA, Syfy, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Universal Studios, Dreamworks and so much more.


Walt Disney: It owns ESPN, ABC, Marvel, 21st Century Fox, Pixar and just to name a few companies.

Paramount Global Content Distribution logo

Paramount Global: It owns Paramount Pictures (its namesake), CBS Group, MTV, BET, CMT, and Showtime, among other media companies.


Who Owns It?

What is one of your favorite TV shows or movies? Look up what company produced it, and figure out if that company is owned by an even bigger company. It probably is!

For example, if you love the Marvel movies AND watching major-league baseball, you are giving your eyes and ears and money to the same company – Walt Disney.

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