Big media still has plenty of muscle

Big media still has plenty of muscle
ESPN and anchor Chris Berman drive value for Disney. (Getty Images)

There may be 500 channels and almost $80 billion in advertising and subscriber revenue in the television industry, but most of that content and cash is controlled by a handful of companies.

In a new report on the U.S. media industry, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger notes that a handful of media giants control the advertising and subscription pies.

According to Juenger, fees that pay-TV distributors pay for content is now about $40 billion while advertising is an additional $37 billion.

Walt Disney Co., parent of ESPN, ABC Family, Disney Channel and the ABC broadcast network, accounts for more than 20% of the distribution fee figure. Time Warner Inc., whose holdings include HBO, TNT, TBS and CNN, is the second-biggest media company in terms of subscriber fees. Its networks get about 18% of that $40 billion.

Rounding out the top five in terms of subscriber fees are 21st Century Fox (FX, Fox News, Fox Sports1 and Fox Broadcasting), NBCUniversal (USA, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC, Bravo) and Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon).

In terms of advertising, NBC controls almost 20% of the $37-billion TV market followed by Disney with about 17%. Fox has a 12% share while CBS and Viacom each have about 11%. Time Warner trails with roughly 10%.

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