January 18, 2014

Who Really Runs the Media?

A somewhat brief rundown of the men behind the scenes. 

January 18, 2014
Jennifer Dust

We've all heard that there are six corporations that own 90% of American media. And we've all come across this infographic at one time or another. But there are a few corrections since it’s been floating around. GE doesn't own NBC (or Comcast or any media) anymore. Comcast is now the "6th" corporation (I say "6th" because it turns out that CBS & Viacom are essentially owned by the same company). And Time Warner doesn't own AOL. Now, we know the names of the corporations, but what do we know about the men that run these corporations? (Tidbit, not all of them are Jews.) Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about these guys.

- Leslie Roy Moonves, President & CEO
- Born to a Jewish family in 1964 in New York City
- Moonves joined Lorimar Television in 1985 as executive in charge of its movies and mini-series.
- July 1993, he became President/CEO of Warner Bros. Television, when Warner Bros. and Lorimar Television combined operations.
- In 2004, nearly two weeks after finalizing his divorce from his first wife, Moonves married television and news personality Julie Chen.
- Moonves is a great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel.

- Viacom is owned in majority by National Amusements, Inc., a privately owned theater company based in Dedham, Massachusetts, USA
- National Amusements holds another controlling stake in CBS Corporation.
- The current Viacom was created in December 2005 as a spinoff from CBS Corporation, which changed it’s name from Viacom to CBS at the same time. CBS, not Viacom, retains control of the over-the-air broadcasting, TV production, outdoor advertising, subscription pay television and publishing assets.
National Amusements, Inc.- Privately owned theater company founded in 1936 by Michael Redstone (born Rothstein and Jewish).
- Michael’s son, Sumner Redstone, grew National Amusements into one of the largest media conglomerates in the United States, owning CBS Corporation, Viacom, and movie studio Paramount Pictures.
- National Amusements operates more than 1,500 movie screens under its Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas, Cinema de Lux and KinoStar brands.

- Brian L. Roberts, Chairman & CEO
- Born into a Jewish family in 1959 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- His father, Ralph J. Roberts, was co-founder of Comcast Corporation in 1963
- Chairman of the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
- Roberts is a board member of the Bank of New York
- Member of the Business Roundtable, a CEO only organization based in Washington, D.C.
- Roberts became president of Comcast in 1990 at age 31.
- In 1997, Roberts successfully pitched Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, for an investment of $1 billion.
- In December 2009, he wrote to President Barack Obama endorsing his Affordable Care Act.
He was named to President Obama's Jobs and Competitiveness Council in February, 2011.
- According to a Forbes article posted in August 2013, Roberts’ net worth is estimated at just over $1 billion, including more than $800 million in Comcast stock.
- 2012 Presidential Election: Comcast donated $206,056 to Obama's campaign, compared to the $20,500 the company gave to Romney.

- Jeffrey Bewkes, Chairman & CEO
- Born in 1952 in New Jersey to an affluent Lutheran family
- After graduating from Stanford with an MBA, Bewkes worked as a commercial banker in NYC at Citibank
- After Citibank, Bewkes worked his way up through HBO, becoming CEO of HBO in 1995-2002.
- On behalf of NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Bewkes was one of the chairs of Media.NYC.2020, which reviewed the future of the global media industry, the implications for NYC, and suggested actionable next steps for the NYC government.
- Two formerly separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc. (along with the assets of a third company, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.), form the current Time Warner.

- Time Warner owns several large properties in New York City; certain buildings in the Rockefeller Center complex and adjacent office towers house its main offices; one of which houses a CNN news studio. In late 2003, Time Warner finished construction of a new twin-tower complex, designed to serve as additional office space, facing Columbus Circle on the southwestern edge of Central Park. Originally called the AOL Time Warner Center, the 755-foot, 55-floor mixed-use property was renamed Time Warner Center when the company itself was renamed.
- 2012 Presidential Election: Time Warner donated $191,834 to Barack Obama, compared to $10,750 to Romney's campaign.

- News Corp. was the world's second-largest media group as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009
- Keith Rupert Murdoch: Founder, Chairman and CEO
- Born in 1931 in Australia
- Net worth: $13.4 Billion in 2013; 33rd richest person in the US, 91st richest person in the world.
- In the early 1980s, Murdoch would end up acquiring Metromedia, which was comprised of six television stations, one being Fox Broadcasting Company.
- Murdoch can be linked to media outlets such as: The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Star, New York Post
In 2007, Murdoch acquired Dow Jones, which included The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine, the Far Eastern Economic Review and SmartMoney.
- 2012 Presidential Election: News Corp. gave a total of $58,825 to Obama, compared to the $2,750 the company donated to Romney's campaign.

- Largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue.
- Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO
- Born in 1951 in New York to a Jewish family
- In 2013, Iger made $34.3 million, however his cash bonus was down 14.7% from the previous year.
- In March 2005, Disney announced Iger would succeed Michael Eisner as chief executive officer.
- In January 2006, Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all stock transaction. It made Steve Jobs (Apple, Inc.) Disney’s top shareholder with seven percent of outstanding shares and gave him a seat on Disney’s board of directors.  
- 2012 Presidential Election: Walt Disney Co. donated $125,856 to Obama's campaign, more than ten times the amount the company gave to Romney.

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