JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

copyright 2010, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 52, summer 2010

It’s not film, it’s TV:
rethinking industrial identity

by Jennifer Holt

In an entertainment landscape characterized by conglomerated ownership, transmedia and convergence, both film and television properties are essential holdings for all of the “Big Six” companies[1]][open endnotes in new window] dominating U.S.-based production and distribution. These properties are leveraged across media for purposes of cross-promotion, risk reduction and exploiting corporate holdings with maximum efficiency. And yet, the popular discourse and conceptualization of these media companies traditionally grants feature films and the film studios the primary emphasis or place of importance. They are usually the most identifiable elements of entertainment conglomerates—with arguable exceptions[2]—and film remains the medium with greater cultural caché. However, when it comes to balance sheets and bottom lines, film is a distant second to television. Increasingly, the business of motion pictures—the production, distribution and exhibition of feature films—has become less significant to the major conglomerates that populate the economic and cultural geography of what is commonly called “Hollywood.” In fact, these companies that are most closely associated with film studios are actually driven and supported by the television industry—particularly cable—far more so than by the production and distribution of feature films. Indeed, when viewed through the lens of their SEC filings and annual reports to shareholders, the Big Six primarily appear as giant television companies with some additional holdings in film. [See Appendix for 2010 summary of holdings.]

Media scholars have convincingly argued for and focused on film as the economic locomotive, or the main engine powering entertainment conglomerates.[3] However, when looking at these companies’ historical development and expansion, particularly since the late 1980s, it becomes clear that the conglomerates’ business model has evolved in ways that complicate and re-design that paradigm. In addition to the film industry growing increasingly dependent on revenues from home video and television distribution, it has become similarly reliant on earnings from television for profits. As such, the film and television industries have (re)negotiated their co-existence and financial interdependence, and in turn the two industries have redefined their relative importance to an entertainment conglomerate’s profile. It is fair to say that in many ways, television now helps keep the film business afloat.

There is excellent foundational work in media-studies literature on the historical cooperation and interdependence of the U.S. film and television industries.[4] As industrial profiles have evolved in response to developments in regulatory policy, technology, business strategies, and entertainment culture, television has become less of an “ancillary market” or additional revenue center for film and more of an economic imperative for what is commonly thought of as a “film company.” In researching this relation, I found that some of the most important primary sources to use for unpacking earnings distributions are corporate annual reports to shareholders and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These documents are incredibly revealing, yet at the same time, not at all so. On the one hand, accounting procedures often limit full disclosure about the precise nature of conglomerate income. On the other, a wealth of perspectives can be mined from such documents to understand the relative importance of television to the Big Six’ bottom line. This essay draws upon a critical analysis of these often-dismissed or overlooked sources to delineate the primacy of television, particularly cable, for the major media conglomerates’ financial health. I also hope to contribute to the larger historical and historiographical argument that we should pay greater attention to the parameters of accounting practices (and their resulting money trails) in our scholarly attempts to map/characterize/imagine the dimensions and identity of an industry.

*******

Film companies and consequently media conglomerates have been in the business of cable distribution and television production (both broadcast and cable) for decades. Of course, until the Financial Interest and Syndication (“Fin-Syn”) Rules were fully repealed in 1995,[5] there was a separation of ownership maintained between film studios and broadcast networks. Yet, the cable and film industries have enjoyed a history of common ownership that goes back to the 1980s. Time Warner offers a prime example of the longstanding relation between the two industries—both companies were busy integrating cable programming and distribution assets into their portfolios for decades. Interestingly, at the time of the merger of Time and Warner, it was mainly discussed in the trade and popular press as the union of a major publisher and a movie studio. However, the deal also created one of the world’s largest cable distributors, which it united with the biggest producer of primetime television in the United States.

In fact, the companies had actually been bitter enemies, competing against one another in the cable business during the late 1970s, often going after the same local franchises (with Warner repeatedly outmaneuvering Time to win the contracts). Time had owned cable systems since the 1960s and programming services (“cable channels”) since the 1970s, when they invested with Charles Dolan, an early cable entrepreneur and owner of the first U.S. underground urban cable system—Sterling Manhattan Cable in New York City. Time also had an ownership stake in The Green Channel, which became Home Box Office in 1972.[6] Further, Time had participated in the 1987 bailout of Ted Turner by many of his competitors in the cable industry, which gave Time 14% of Turner Broadcasting. At the time of the merger Time also owned Cinemax, which HBO had started in 1980, and it controlled ATC (American Television and Communications Corp.), a giant cable system.

Warner had also been extremely active in the cable business. It, too, held a stake in Turner Broadcasting and also owned Warner Cable, a major cable distributor. By 1990, the merged company would have a stake in a massive array of successful cable properties, including

And the media portfolio of Time Warner went far beyond the domestic: HBO had a pay-TV service in Turkey, German television holdings, British production and distribution interests, Scandanavian pay-cable investments and Eastern European television channels.[8] HBO was also intensely focused on Hungary’s media landscape in the wake of Communism’s fall, and HBO Hungary was the company’s first European channel in 1991. In fact, the company was so aggressive in staking its claim in the newly freed market, it was said that HBO “wrote its own media law… [and] transformed Hungary’s cable television business in its own image.”[9] HBO Poland and HBO Czech Republic followed shortly thereafter.[10]

When the two companies came together, cable earnings were equal to revenues from “filmed entertainment,” publishing, and music—with each sector accounting for roughly a quarter of the company’s profile on the annual report. Filmed entertainment is an extremely important yet somewhat mysterious catchall category in the annual reports for media conglomerates. The category’s constitutive products vary by company and are not usually broken down for the reader, but they can include everything from theatrical film, television production, home video, electronic delivery, television licensing, and consumer products. Therefore, while it is never clear what exactly these filmed-entertainment numbers refer to in the corporate accounting, it is widely known that the majority of those earnings derive from revenue related to television production or distribution in some form. This category is at the heart of how “film” becomes overvalued in the conglomerate paradigm.

[ Note: All the charts that follow are generated by author based on data compiled from SEC filings and Annual Reports to Shareholders.]

By 1996, publishing and music had both dropped to about 15% of the company’s earnings, filmed entertainment dropped to about 20% and cable jumped to about 40%. In 2008, on $46.9 billion in earnings (up 1% from 2007), cable was still the largest category of earnings, followed by filmed entertainment, networks, publishing and AOL. The filmed-entertainment category in this case was comprised of production and distribution of theatrical film, television programming, home video, video games, television licensing, and consumer products. In 2008, the company actually broke down such revenues and revealed that only $1.8 billion in filmed entertainment came from theatrical film (which was 13% less than the income from the previous year, despite the fact that 2008 saw the release of Warner Bros. The Dark Knight). This specificity allows us a greater perspective on the question of what kind of significance film holds for an entertainment conglomerate. When looking to the annual reports here for answers, in Time Warner’s case, it represents about one-quarter of the revenue—or just 3% if one is referring to theatrical film only.

For Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation film is even less significant because of the company’s longtime emphasis on television and publishing, which have always been the key to Murdoch’s empire. In 1990, publishing brought in four times the revenue that television and filmed entertainment did, and in 1996, it was still 25% more than both film and TV.

In 2008, the newspapers and publishing were 30% of News Corp’s earnings. Cable, broadcast and satellite television were about 44%, with filmed entertainment—representing both film and television—at 20%.

However, in the wake of the 2008economic crisis, early reports indicate that changes in this model for Murdoch, and that television will take on a much more significant role. Thanks to the severe slump in advertising revenue for newspapers and broadcast and a major downturn in the publishing industry, Murdoch announced that in 2009, cable generated 50% of his company’s operating income.[11]

Aside from the industry’s legendary “creative” accounting and lack of specificity in reporting revenues, the fact that most companies do not categorize their earnings in the same way further frustrates attempts at making direct comparison between conglomerates. Disney, for example, used to divide their revenues into categories comprised of Filmed Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Theme Parks & Resorts. After buying the ABC network, those categories changed to reflect the new properties that the company owned, and accounting was done for Theme Parks & Resorts, Broadcasting, and Creative Content—a category even more vague and ill-defined than Filmed Entertainment.

Now, the Disney company categorizes their earnings as deriving from “Media Networks,” “Studio Entertainment,” “Parks and Resorts,” and “Consumer Products.” In the Media Networks category, more than half of the revenues are from cable ($10 billion, or 62%) and the rest ($6 billion, or 38%) is from broadcast, including the ABC television network, ten local stations, the Radio Disney network, the ESPN radio network, and 46 radio stations.

In this method of organization, networks are separated, broadcasting and cable have their own category, but theatrical film remains subsumed in the arena of studio entertainment—an undignified accounting to be sure. The industry that produces the studio’s tentpoles and almighty blockbusters does not even rate its own category for shareholders on an annual report. This undifferentiated grouping indicates that medium specificity does not have primary importance, at least when it comes to reporting earnings and perhaps that kind of thinking extends to how specific media are conceptualized. Another example of this lack of interest in “film” per se is found in Time Warner’s annual report, which offers a secondary breakdown of earnings in terms of business models. That secondary breakdown reveals both an interesting lack of concern for which medium is bringing in the revenues and also more of a focus on the property or business model responsible for earnings

Viacom is also a company that breaks down its revenues twice, once in terms of filmed entertainment vs. media networks, showing the bulk of earnings coming from television holdings, and again in a way that gives each one of those categories some nuance.

Thus for Viacom, theatrical entertainment represents 11% of the company’s annual revenue. The rest comes entirely from home entertainment, licensing, advertising, affiliate fees, and other ancillary revenues. While CEO Sumner Redstone’s empire began with a few local film theaters and expanded into a major national theater chain, since the late 1980s he has taken his enterprise quite a distance from that core business. Now the company’s major stronghold is in cable television (Viacom’s networks include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TVLand, BET, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, and Logo).

Film was—and remains—an afterthought at best for the parent company of NBC-Universal. As part of GE, NBC Universal was a mere 9% of the company’s annual $183 billion revenue in 2008. The entertainment unit was only mentioned five times in GE’s 112-page annual report. Even as a film studio, Universal has always been heavily invested in television, but more than 60% of NBC Universal’s profits came from cable in 2009, compared with 43% two years earlier. The most valuable asset at NBC Universal is the USA Network and it has continued to grow more profitable; Bravo, Syfy and Oxygen also showed profit gains during the worst part of the recent recession.

At the end of 2009, Comcast announced that it would be buying a majority stake in NBC Universal.[12] As the largest U.S. cable system wiring 25% of the nation’s homes, it would be the first cable operator to take over a major film studio, a broadcast network, and a host of successful cable channels. Also it has become the ultimate expression of how cable has become the core business of media conglomerates. Comcast had certainly been in the hunt before, attempting to buy Universal in 2004 and Disney in 2005. Even after failing to make those deals, the company remained interested in acquiring more programming services, which were extremely lucrative. After all, it is not the NBC network or Universal studios that is the most profitable component of NBC Universal. In fact, the network lost over $500 million in 2009[13], and Universal has had a tragic string of flops, resulting in the departure of studio Chairmen Marc Schmuger and David Linde. Instead, it is cable—USA, Syfy, Bravo—that is the prize jewel of NBC Universal. In the years just before the merger, President and CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker repeatedly celebrated cable as the company’s strongest component, saying that the core cable networks represented over 75% of the company’s profits.[14] With the merger, 82% of the new content provided by the company will be cable programming.[15]

As part of Comcast, NBCU would be integral to the new company’s overall success. A vast majority of the company’s revenue (77%) will still be from infrastructure and delivery systems already belonging to Comcast—cable, Internet and phone subscriptions. The rest will come from cable programming (8%), broadcast properties, including NBC (7%), movies and theme parks (7%) and Telemundo—the broadcast/cable hybrid Spanish language network (1%).[16] While all modern entertainment empires are heavily committed to television, Comcast-NBC Universal is especially invested—top (content) to bottom (conduit)—in the medium in general and in cable specifically.

Cable television’s ascension in the conglomerate hierarchy is taking place alongside some serious troubles facing the film industry—in the form of piracy, economic recession, spiraling budgets and depressed ancillary markets. The independent and boutique divisions have been hit particularly hard: Paramount Vantage, Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse are now defunct; Miramax is dormant after being dismantled by Disney in 2010; and New Line is still functioning but only as a shell of its former self. All of the major studios are cutting back, with Sony and Universal halting spending in early 2009 for the year, and Disney cutting back significantly as well. DVD sales, which are essential for studios to compensate for flops or missed expectations, are down by as much as 25% for some, and international sales have suffered with the global recession. The highest levels of management were not spared either, with top executives at Universal, Paramount and Disney studios losing their jobs in the last year. Dick Cook, longtime Studio Chairman at Disney was even replaced by a television executive, Rich Ross—former head of the Disney Channel responsible for developing the (television-friendly) franchises of Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers and High School Musical that have brought Disney tremendous success, even during challenging economic times.

Of course, broadcast is also suffering during this time of transition and upheaval for the media industries. News Corporation reported 2008 income of $18 million from its broadcast television unit, compared with $245 million just a year earlier. They also saw a 44% decline in revenues from stations.[17] Disney’s broadcast business also had a 60% drop in operating income, and even the top-rated network CBS has seen some steep declines.[18] Fourth-place NBC is the butt of too many jokes to count, and the network’s own series 30 Rock often makes fun of NBC’s impending merger with a fictitious company called “Kabletown.” Recently, the show characterized NBC as nothing more than a tax-deductible charitable donation for the cable company, echoing a common view that Comcast would have rather done the deal without also having to buy the struggling broadcast network.

While it is clear that the Big Six are largely profiting from the television arena, isolating or identifying the root of financial success in the media industries is more complex than what numbers and balance sheets provide. The percentage of earnings derived from home video, for example, often depends on the strength of domestic theatrical sales. And the migration of content and viewers to online viewing is not just threatening the broadcast business model, forcing networks to trade “analog dollars for digital pennies,”[19] it is requiring cable and film to adapt as well.[20] In keeping with such complexity in the business, scholarly analysis and critical evaluation of media industries require similar distinction, nuance and interrogation, lest we ourselves perpetuate the same illusory accounting of industrial identity.

Notes

Go to Appendix

1. I would thank Ethan Tussey for his assistance with creating the charts used in this essay. Presently the Big Six are Time Warner, Disney, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Viacom and Sony.

2. I would argue that the primary exceptions to the film studio being the public face of a conglomerate are NBC Universal and News Corp. NBC is actually billed higher than Universal on the corporate masthead and that alone marks the network (despite its troubles since the merger) as more prominent than the film business in the corporate image. Lastly, News Corp. has the most visible figurehead in Rupert Murdoch and his very public influence over the Fox network has probably made the broadcast property more central to the company’s public image than any other, regardless of their relative economic importance. Disney is also widely recognized for its intellectual property and theme parks, perhaps more than its film studio.

3. For example, see Paul Grainge, Brand Hollywood (New York: Routledge, 2008) and Thomas Schatz, “The Return of the Hollywood Studio System” in Erik Barnouw, et.al. Conglomerates and the Media (New York: The New Press, 1997).

4. See Michele Hilmes, Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), Christopher Anderson, Hollywood TV (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994) and Frederick Wasser, Veni, Vidi, Video (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001) for three outstanding examples.

5. The Financial Interest and Syndication Rules were a 1970 FCC regulation preventing networks from having ownership stakes in the prime-time programming that they aired. This kept the studios—the biggest producers of television—from owning the networks and therefore maintained a boundary between the two industries that was dismantled when the rules were completely repealed in 1995. The rules did not apply to cable, nor did they apply to Rupert Murdoch who managed to get waivers from the FCC when he united 20th Century Fox studios with the Fox network in 1985. Murdoch did not broadcast enough hours to be considered a full-fledged “network”—he made sure to have a schedule just short of the 15 hours of prime-time programming per week that defined a network as such—so he was able to avoid being regulated in the same fashion as his competitors.

6. The following year, Time gained complete control of HBO. For details, see Megan Mullen, "The Pre-History of Pay Cable Television: An Overview and Analysis," Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 19:1, 1999, p. 51.

7. Information on company holdings taken from Annual Reports of Time Warner.

8. WB, NBC and HBO from Moerk, Christian and Michael Williams, “Moguls Swat GATT-Flies” Variety, November 8, 1993, p. 62; and McElvogue, Louise, “HBO Takes a More Global View of TV,” Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1995.
http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-02/
business/fi-61471_1_pay-television

9. Schapiro, Mark, “The Cable Guise: When Communism Crashed, HBO Rewrote the Rules,” The Nation, November 29, 1999, p. 20.

10. These channels were ultimately combined with HBO Slovakia and Romania to create HBO Central Europe in 1999. For a discussion of HBO abroad, particularly in Central Europe, see Timothy Havens, Global Television Marketplace, London: BFI, 2006, pp. 147-150.

11. Tim Arango, “Better-Than-Expected Profit is Reported by News Corp,” New York Times, November 4, 2009,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/
business/media/05news.html

11b. For an original take on the tentpole concept, see Charles Acland, “Avatar as Technological Tentpole,” Flow, January 22, 2010,
http://flowtv.org/?p=4724

12. The proposed deal was for Comcast to own 51% of NBC Universal and GE to retain 49% of the company. As of this writing, the merger is undergoing extensive regulatory review. The new company is not expected to have any problems clearing that hurdle.

13. James, Meg, “Comcast to Buy Control of NBC Universal in $30-billion Transaction,” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2009,
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/04/
business/la-fi-ct-comcast4-2009dec04

14. Georg Szalai, “Zucker Mum on Comcast Deal,” Media Week, November 19, 2009,
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/
showthread.php?t=838060&page=1493

15. Claire Atkinson, “Comcast, G.E. Announce Deal on NBCU,” Broadcasting and Cable, December 3, 2009,
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/
406948-Comcast_G_E_Announce_Deal_on_NBCU.php

16. Sam, Schechner, Jeffrey McCracken, and Max Colchester, “Comcast, GE Set to Unwrap NBC Universal Pact,” Wall St. Journal, December 3, 2009, B1. This story provides the information for the chart detailing the holdings of the merged company as well.

17. Arango, Tim, “News Corp. Loss Shows Trouble and Dow Jones,” New York Times, February 5, 2009,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/
business/media/06news.html

18. Arango, Tim, “Broadcast TV Faces Struggle to Stay Viable,” New York Times, February 27, 2009,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/business/media/28network.html?pagewanted=all

19. Keynote address delivered by Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBC Universal, at the annual meeting of the National Association of Television Program Executives, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29, 2008.

20. Presently, most cable companies are withholding content from digital distribution while a subscription-based service also known as the “TV Everywhere” concept (or, as Free Press calls it, “TV Nowhere”) is developed. Film companies are reevaluating their distribution windows and searching for direct payment models in the digital arena that can help shore up the stagnating theatrical and DVD business.

Appendix

Global entertainment conglomerates:
select holdings 2010

Time Warner - 2009 Revenue: $25.78 Billion

Broadcast (TV/Radio):
CW network (joint venture with CBS)

Cable Television:
Turner Broadcasting (includes CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, TruTV,
The Cartoon Network, Adult Swim)
HBO and Cinemax pay cable channels
Eight local news cable channels
[recently spun off Time Warner Cable]

Film and Television Content:
Warner Brothers Pictures (includes New Line Cinema)
Warner Bros. Television
A library of over 6,000 films, 25,000 television programs and 1000s of animated shows
Warner Bros. Animation – includes Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera
DC Entertainment

Internet:
Numerous Internet brands and services, including PGA.com, NASCAR.com, TMZ.com
[recently spun off AOL]

Publishing
Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the world with more than 100 magazines
             (e.g., Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, In Style, Entertainment Weekly)
DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman, MAD Magazine, etc.  

Other:
Warner Bros. International Cinemas 
Warner Home Video, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Warner Bros. Interactive
Entertainment

Disney  -  2009 Revenue: $36.1 Billion

Broadcast (TV/Radio):
ABC television network
Ten television stations and  46 radio stations
Radio Disney, ESPN Radio, ABC News Radio

Cable Television:
Disney Channels worldwide, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews, ABC Family
Channel, SOAPNet, Disney XD, plus holdings in A&E/Lifetime Television Networks (incl. A&E, Lifetime, The History Channel)
Hungama (Indian cable network for kids)

Content:
Walt Disney Pictures/Television, Touchstone Pictures, ABC Television Studio, and
Buena Vista Productions (also distribution deal with DreamWorks)
The Muppets
Pixar
Marvel Entertainment

Other:
Hulu.com (co-owned with NBC Universal and News Corp.)
Disney Publishing Worldwide
Music labels, including Hollywood Records, Buena Vista Records and Walt Disney
Records
Disney Parks and Resorts – including 11 theme parks and resorts on 3 continents
Disney Cruise Line
Walt Disney Imagineering
Disney Interactive Media Group
ESPN Zone
Disney Theatrical Group (live stage shows)
Disney Consumer Products
Disney Stores
Club Penguin

Viacom- 2009 Revenue: $13.6 billion

(Viacom-CBS split into two separate publicly-traded companies in 2005)

Cable Television:
MTV Networks/International, MTV2, VH1, Nickelodeon, TVLand, BET, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, Epix (partnership of Paramount, MGM & Lionsgate)

Film and Television Content:
Paramount Pictures (including library of over 1,100 titles and 18,000 hours of TV)
MTV Films, DreamWorks Animation

Other:
Paramount Home Entertainment (video distributor)
Various internet ventures  
Rock Band franchise (includes Rock Band, Rock Band 2, The Beatles: Rock Band)

CBS  - 2009 Revenue: $13 billion

Broadcast (TV/Radio):
CBS Television Network (over 200 affiliated stations)
CW Television Network (joint venture with Time Warner)
CBS Television Stations (29 stations – 16 CBS, 9 CW, 1 MyNetworkTV, 3 Independent)
CBS Radio (130 radio stations in across the US)

Cable Television:
Showtime Networks, The Movie Channel, Flix, CBS College Sports Network

Film and Television Content:
CBS Television Studios (currently producing 24 series for primetime)
CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports, CBS Digital Media
CBS Films

Publishing:
Simon & Schuster

Other:
CBS Outdoor (over 1 million billboards all over the world)
CBS Interactive (includes CNET, TV.com, BNet)
CBS Records

News Corporation – 2009 Revenue: $30.4 Billion

Broadcast (TV/Radio):
Fox Broadcasting Company (network), Fox Sports Radio Network, My Network TV
27 television stations in US

Cable Television:
Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Movie Channel, National Geographic Channel, FX, Fox
Business Network, FUEL TV, Speed, Fox College Sports
Ownership and/or major interests in satellite channels and services reaching Europe,
U.S., Asia, and Latin America including SKY and STAR TV

Content:
20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox Searchlight, Blue Sky
Studios

Publishing:
More than 125 newspapers and mags worldwide, including the NY Post, The Times (UK)
and The Weekly Standard
Harper Collins publishers
Dow Jones & Co. (including The Wall St. Journal)

Other:
Myspace.com, Hulu.com (co-owned with NBC Universal and Disney)
Rotten Tomatoes, National Rugby League

NBC Universal  - 2009 Revenue: $15.4 billion

(80% owned by GE, 20% by Vivendi) – deal pending for 51% of company to be owned by Comcast, 49% by GE

Broadcast (TV/Radio):
NBC television network
10 NBC television stations
Telemundo
16 Telemundo stations

Cable Television:
Oxygen 
Bravo (which owns televisionwithoutpity.com)
Weather Channel (joint venture with Bain Capital and Blackstone Group)
USA Network
CNBC
Syfy Channel
MSNBC (with Microsoft)
Holdings in A&E Television Networks (Including Lifetime)

Content:
Universal Pictures
Focus Features
Universal Studios Home Entertainment (4,000+ films and 40,000 episodes of television) Universal Media Studios
Universal Cable Productions

Other:
Interests in five theme parks including Universal Studios and Universal Orlando.  
Hulu.com (co-owned with News Corp. and Disney)

[See below for proposed NBC/Comcast deal]

Other notable heavyweights and their key holdings:

Sony:  one of world’s largest producers of home entertainment and consumer electronics, Columbia TriStar, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, Game Show Network, Sony Home Entertainment (maker of PlayStation), co-owners of MGM/UA – including 8,000 title film library and Sony Music Entertainment (i.e. Columbia, Epic, Zomba, RCA, Arista, etc.)

Apple: Hardware (iMac, iPhone, iPod, MacBook, Apple TV), software (iTunes, QuickTime, Safari, iWork, iLife, Final Cut) Point of Sale (Apple Stores)

Google: Google, Youtube, Blogger, Gmail, Picasa, AdSense, etc.

NBC/Comcast proposed merger would include:

Cable TV Networks
    * USA
    * Bravo
    * Syfy
    * Universal HD
    * CNBC
    * CNBC World
    * MSNBC
    * Chiller
    * mun2
    * Sleuth
    * Oxygen
    * E!
    * Golf Channel
    * Style Network
    * Versus
    * G4
    * Comcast Regional Sports Networks
    * CSN Bay Area (67%)
    * CSN California
    * CSN Mid-Atlantic
    * CSN Chicago (30%)
    * CSN MTN (50%)
    * CSN New England
    * CSN Northwest
    * CSN Philadelphia (85%)
    * CSS (81%)
    * SNY (8%)*
    * New England Cable News
    * Exercise TV (65%)
    * Sprout (40%)
    * The Weather Channel (25%)
    * Universal Sports (8%)
    * FearNet (33%)
    * A&E (16%)
    * Biography (16%)
    * History (16%)
    * Lifetime (16%)
    * TVOne (33%)
    * International Channels
    * Syfy Universal
    * Diva Universal
    * Studio Universal
    * Universal Channel
    * 13th Street Universal
    * CNBC Europe
    * CNBC Asia
   
Broadcast Networks
    * NBC
    * Telemundo
    * NBC Television Network

10 NBC owned and operated broadcast TV stations
    * New York / WNBC
    * Los Angeles / KNBC
    * Chicago / WMAQ
    * Philadelphia / WCAU
    * San Jose / KNTV
    * Dallas/Ft.Worth / KXAS
    * Washington / WRC
    * Miami / WTVJ
    * San Diego / KNSD
    * Hartford / WVIT

16 Telemundo owned and operated Telemundo Stations
    * Los Angeles / KVEA
    * New York / WNJU
    * Miami / WSCV
    * Houston / KTMD
    * Chicago / WSNS
    * Dallas/Ft.Worth / KXTX
    * San Antonio / KVDA
    * Las Vegas / KBLR
    * San Francisco/San Jose / KSTS
    * Phoenix / KTAZ
    * Fresno / KNSO
    * Denver / KDEN
    * Denver / KMAS
    * Boston/Merrimack / WNEU
    * Tucson / KHRR
    * Puerto Rico / WKAQ

Digital Media Properties
    * CNBC.com
    * ivillage.com
    * NBC.com
    * fandango.com
    * movies.com
    * dailycandy.com
    * bravotv.com
    * eonline.com
    * thegolfchannel.com
    * golfnow.com
    * usanetwork.com
    * oxygen.com
    * style.com
    * chillertv.com
    * syfy.com
    * versus.com
    * comcastsportsnet.com
    * holamun2.com
    * universalhd.com
    * g4tv.com
    * sleuthchannel.com
    * accesshollywood.com
    * nbcsports.com
    * nbcolympics.com
    * televisionwithoutpity.com
    * exercisetv.tv (65%)
    * sproutonline.com (40%)
    * universalsports.com (8%)
    * fearnet.com (33%)
    * msnbc.com (50%)
    * hulu.com (27%)
    * weather.com (25%)
   
NBC Universal Domestic & International Distribution
Distributes NBC Universal's first-run, syndicated and library content nationally and
internationally, including more than 55,000 TV episodes

Universal Studios/Production
Universal Pictures
Focus Features
Universal Media Studios
Universal Cable Productions
Carnival
Cattleya (18.5%)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment (Distributes more than 4,000 film titles)

Parks & Resorts
Universal theme parks
Orlando (50%)
Hollywood

Comcast cable and high-speed Internet distribution, digital voice services, 4G wireless


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