AOL Time Warner, the world’s biggest media company, is in talks with NTL, the biggest cable operator in the UK, abouta partnership in Europe.
In a recent CNN discussion Gerry Levin, Chief Executive of AOL Time Warner, announced that global media would becomethe dominant industry of this century, more powerful than governments. US citizens now spend more money onentertainment than on clothing or health, and the pattern is being mirrored around the developed world.
In 1982, 50 media firms dominated the market. Now there are fewer than ten. AOL Time Warner leads the pack, withrevenues of $31.8 billion and 29 operations from Poland to Brazil including CNN, Time Warner Cable, and 24 bookbrands. With revenues of $23.4 billion, the Walt Disney company comes in second. Walt Disney owns the DisneyChannel, which broadcasts in 8 countries, sports channel ESPN, which broadcasts in over 165 countries, theme parks,and film companies including Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax, and Buena Vista.
But media companies are not only globalizing themselves, they are also aiding and abetting corporate-ledglobalization in general. When CEOs and heads of state met in Davos, Switzerland this January for the World EconomicForum, a specially chosen group of “Media Leaders” joined them. About 200 editors, producers and commentators fromaround the world not only took part in the meetings but also attended special closed sessions. Among them was ThomasFriedman of the New York Times, who called the anti-globalization protesters in Seattle, “a Noah’s ark offlat-earth advocates, protectionist trade unions, and yuppies looking for their 1960s fix.”
As hundreds of activists protested the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington this past weekend,media activists and members of the independent media converged in San Francisco for an Alternative News MediaExposition and Press Freedom Conference. The conference was hosted by Project Censored, who was celebrating its 25thanniversary. Project Censored is a group dedicated to exposing censorship in the United States, and every yearpublishes a collection of the top 25 censored stories.
Norman Solomon, author of a nationally syndicated column called “Media Beat,” spoke about the media and corporate-ledglobalization.
- Norman Solomon, author of a nationally syndicated column called “Media Beat.”