Who owns the news? The 24 companies that control the world’s biggest news outlets

 

Ever wondered who owns your favorite news websites?

Our latest study shows the current state of media consolidation in the United States, the U.K., Australia, and the globe.

We started off by identifying the top 50 most visited news websites in the world as of September 2019, using data from web traffic analysis company Alexa, and market intelligence provider SimilarWeb. We then determined the parent companies behind each of these 50 outlets and identified all of the properties in their online media portfolios to create an accurate picture of the concentration of media around the world.

In order to map out who owns the news in the United States, in the U.K. and in Australia, we isolated the 20 companies with the most popular websites in each geography and filled in the gaps by adding up-and-coming digital media companies. Once this step was complete, we worked our way backwards to identify all of the web properties in their portfolios and the parent companies behind them.

For news sites that are owned by investment firms with a majority stake, the CEO or director of the investment firm was listed as the highest-level owner. For news sites that are owned or directly (or indirectly) controlled by the government (as is the case of the BBC, who since 2017 has had its board members selected by the UK government), the head of government was listed as the highest-level owner.

The companies that control global news

Several names are synonymous with media domination around the world: News Corp in the United States, the U.K., and Australia, Globo in Brazil, Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan. While many of the oldest media conglomerates are as powerful as ever and still growing, the emergence of digital news has substantially altered the media landscape and allowed new companies to emerge as major players in the news industry. Tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, as well as telecommunications conglomerates such as Verizon and AT&T, now rank among the top owners of the world’s media.

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In recent years, asset management firms and private investors have increasingly bought majority stakes in legacy newspapers and have come to dominate the list of the top media owners worldwide. In April 2019, for example, private equity firm Great Hill Partners acquired the Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion, and combined their digital news assets, which include Gizmodo, Jezebel, and The A.V. Club, into a new company named G/O Media Inc. In August 2019, American investment firm KKR purchased the largest stake in Axel Springer SE, a German media group whose assets include Business Insider and Rolling Stone.

A significant share of the world’s media is owned by national governments. Through outlets such as PBS and NPR, the BBC, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the governments of the United States, the U.K., and Australia all have significant media holdings. State ownership of media in English-speaking countries is dwarfed, however, by the Government of China’s media holdings.[1]

Who dominates the news in America?

Online news in the United States is dominated by publishers and broadcasters of traditional print and television news such as CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times. Online-only news sites that have a major presence in the U.S. include Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and Reddit.

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Some of the top media owners in the U.S. have dominated the news media landscape for over a century, and continue to grow in the era of digital news. The Hearst name, for example, first appeared on a newspaper masthead in 1887. Today Hearst Communications owns dozens of newspapers and magazines throughout the country, each with a significant online presence. Advance Publications, which was founded by Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr. in 1922 and is still family-owned today, has a portfolio that includes Reddit, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and American City Business Journals.

What companies own the news in the UK?

Online news media in the U.K. is dominated by publishers of traditional print media, such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. Tabloid newspapers such as the Daily Mail, The Sun, and the Daily Mirror have a significant online presence in Britain. Several London-based news sites, such as The Economist and the Financial Times, have substantial readership outside of the U.K.

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News Corp, through News Corp UK, and Daily Mail and General Trust plc own many of the largest national news sites in the U.K. Through its subsidiary Local World Holdings Ltd., Reach plc owns more than five dozen regional newspapers and their corresponding websites. The Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust Limited, which exists solely to control the finances of the Guardian and ensure its editorial independence.

Who dominates the news industry in Australia?

From 1987 to 2006, Australia had specific legislation limiting foreign ownership of media companies on the continent, as well as restrictions on cross-ownership of media companies meant to preserve the diversity of news media.[1] Despite these restrictions, today Australia has a relatively high degree of media concentration.

National online news media in Australia is essentially controlled by two companies: News Corp, through News Corp Australia, and Nine. Rural news media is largely dominated by Australian Community Media, whose portfolio includes over 170 regional newspapers and their corresponding websites. Seven West Media also has a substantial news media portfolio that includes traditional newspapers, online-only news sites, magazines, and radio. The Conversation is one of the only major online news sites in Australia that is independently owned.

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What does this all mean?

While many believed the internet would bring openness and diversity to the world’s media, online news media has become increasingly consolidated over the past several decades.

According to a recent analysis from the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information research center, the market concentration of internet media has more than doubled since 2000. In an analysis of 30 countries, researchers found that, on average, the top four media companies in each country hold 40% of that country’s media content market.[1]  Such a high degree of media concentration — which is only projected to increase in the near future — has far-reaching implications for social, cultural, economic, and political life. As media moguls continue to build their empires, and emerging conglomerates begin to expand into the news media industry, it is important to remain aware of who exactly owns the news.

As the concentration of online news has increased, so has public distrust in mass media. A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans remain largely mistrustful of the mass media, with just 41% currently having “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in newspapers, television and radio to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.”

The news media has a powerful influence over consumer tastes, political opinions, and culture at large, so it is increasingly important to know who exactly controls the news content we consume every day.

Methodology

To determine the companies and individuals that own the top news sites in the world, we identified the top owners of the news sites with the most monthly traffic as of September 2019. Data on average visitor traffic for the past one to three months and the relative rank of each news site came from Alexa, an Amazon company, and market intelligence provider SimilarWeb.

We identified the owners of the top 50 news sites globally, in the United States, in the U.K., and in Australia, respectively, using financial filings, corporate press announcements, and other public sources. We then isolated the 20 companies with the most visited sites in each geography, as well as other newsworthy media companies, and identified all of the properties in their online media portfolios, as well as the name of their highest-level owners, using financial filings, corporate press announcements, and other public sources.

For news sites that are owned by investment firms with a majority stake, the CEO or director of the investment firm was listed as the highest-level owner. For news sites that are owned or directly (or indirectly) controlled by the government (as is the case of the BBC, who since 2017 has had its board members selected by the UK government), the head of government was listed as the highest-level owner.

Sources

For a full list of sources that went into the creation of these graphics, please visit: https://bit.ly/WhoOwnsNews.

[1] Noam, E. 2016. Who Owns the World’s Media?: Media Concentration and Ownership around the World. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press

[2] Brenan, M. (2019). Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Edges Down to 41%. gallup.com

[3] Great Hill Partners. (2019). Great Hill Partners Acquires Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion from Univision Communications Inc.. businesswire.com

[4] Thomasson, E. (2019). KKR becomes Axel Springer’s biggest shareholder. reuters.com

[5] Noam, E. 2016. Who Owns the World’s Media?: Media Concentration and Ownership around the World. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press

[6] Hearst. (n.d.) A Brief History of Hearst. hearst.com

[7] Advance Publications. (n.d.) About Advance. advance.com

Read Who owns the news? The 24 companies that control the world’s biggest news outlets by Alex Ion on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

5 Tools That Allow You to Make a Free Logo

Best tools to make a free logo

Whether you are managing a blog, an online store, or a website that offers a service, you need high-quality branding to make it popular and attract as many web users as possible. One of the main ingredients of a robust brand is a logo, and in this blog, we will shed light on the top 5 tools that allow you to create attractive logos for free.

So, let’s just jump right into reviewing all of them, one at a time:

1. Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands is easily one of the most powerful online logo makers today. This is mainly because of the unique AI algorithm it uses that makes logo designing a breeze. All you have to do is share a few basic details about your business including its name, vision, and a few design preferences so that the program is able to determine the best designs tailored for you. And that’s it! The entire process takes no longer than 5 minutes, and you get more than a few perfect designs to choose from!

Tailor Designs is a free tool and you only have to pay a subscription fee which is very modest and only applicable after your design is ready and you wish to download it.

Click here to try this free logo generator.

2. Gimp

Unlike Tailor Brands, GIMP is more of a photo editor which means that it comes with way more tools and features.

If you want to do more than logo designing, then GIMP is your right choice. It comes with a customizable interface that not only covers cosmetics, but also the behavior of the various tools that it has. There are photo enhancement tools that help you to get rid of image distortions, colors, and other imperfections. Another benefit is support for multiple file formats viz. JPEG, PSD, PNG, and GIF.

Click here to download GIMP photo editor

3. Design Bold

Need stunning designs but don’t want to pay an arm and leg? If your answer is yes, then you need to check out Design Bold. It’s a premium design service that comes with free signup even though you can check out the pro features for as little as $9.99 a month. Either way, you get a whopping 10,000+ free layouts and 40+ million premium stock photos. There are tons of attractive fonts and color options that you can use to create high-quality logos in a matter of minutes!

Click here to get Designbold pricing & free sign up.

4. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is an online photo editor with skin retouching, customizable filters, and blur effects. While most online tools in this category are largely limited in their functions, PicMonkey stands out with a rather impressive toolkit.

PicMonkey has all the basic editing features like color effects, image cropping and resizing, etc. However, there are many advanced effects like touch up, enhancement filters, and access to over 2,400 customizable templates, 3,000 graphics, 200 fonts, and 100 textures. You can use it to design logos, business cards, postcards, etc.

Click here for a free trial of PicMonkey.

5. Easil

Easil touts itself as a DIY design toolkit that can offer all the brand tools you need. It comes with a wide range of professionally-designed templates that you can customize in a matter of minutes. You can create banners, GIFs, posters, and more! Of course, there are plenty of tools for designing a perfect logo. Since the UI is user-friendly, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to get started- a big plus for sure!

Click here to start using Easil for free.

Conclusion

We have come a long way in graphics design today. There is no need to master challenging software like Adobe Photoshop, as there are easier and simpler options like the ones above. They are easy to get started with, and they are free or affordable. So, which one are you going to try first? Let us know!

Read 5 Tools That Allow You to Make a Free Logo by Alex Ion on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Is your government requesting user data from tech giants?

User data’; it‘s a phrase many of us might not even have been aware of until recent changes to the law made it a hot topic that we can‘t ignore. New data protection laws have forced technology companies to become much more transparent about the ways they use your data and how they are sharing it with global governments.

To do this, tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook publish regular transparency reports, which shed light on how the policies and actions of governments and corporations affect privacy, security and access to information. However, these reports tend to be impenetrable to anyone who‘s not an expert on such matters, so we decided to create a series of visualisations to break it all down.

Who’s sending your data where?

These maps show where the tech giants are sending data. Facebook are top the list, granting 138,317 requests for user information. 64,351 instances of those involved data being sent to the US government, which made 75,208 requests to Facebook alone between 2010 – 2018.

In comparison, Germany, the second biggest requester of data, was granted 6,970 data requests from Facebook between 2010 – 2018. However, Germany were more interested in Apple’s user data, requesting and receiving 22,080 instances of user data in the past 8 years.

What about Google you ask? They disclosed 70,908 instances of data to various countries, with almost half (30,332) of those going to the US government.

Which tech companies are receiving (and granting) the most requests?

The chart below compares the number of data requests the big hitters such as Facebook, Google and Apple receive – and more importantly, how many times they have shared data with governments.

As you can see, not all tech companies are handling requests the same way, with some of them denying more data requests than others. Here’s a quick overview of the percentage of data requests each tech company granted over the last 12 months.

Facebook received the most requests (186,059) followed closely by Google who received 106,991. Facebook granted 74.34% of those requests while Google granted 66.27%. Both Apple and Snapchat granted just over 80% of all the requests they received.

Top 20 countries requesting data from tech giants

These are the twenty countries which have sent the most data requests to tech giants. The US tops the table by some distance with a total of 151,047. Next up is Germany which made 59,220 requests in total, followed by India which made 40,116. There are no less than eight European countries in the top 20.

Which countries want your data?

These maps show which continents are making the most requests for your data. Not surprisingly North America tops the list here, helped along by the fact that the continent includes the US, which contributes 151,047 of those requests.

Next up is Europe with 144,543 requests. Things are a little more evenly spread here, but the U.K, Germany and France are by far the biggest contributors to the overall total.

Tracking information requests over the years (2010 – 2018)

With so much of our daily lives being spent on the internet (paying bills, writing to friends, work, is there anything that isn‘t online anymore?) – has this has impacted the number of information data requests being made by countries from around the world? In a word, yes.

This chart shows how information requests have grown over the years, spoiler alert, the curve goes upwards. Requests rose from 27,625 in 2010 to 382,242 in 2017.

But look closer and you‘ll see the figure dip in 2018, most likely due to the introduction of new data protection laws. It remains to be seen whether the curve will plateau in future years or if governments will find a way around it.

How the US compares to the rest of the world

Companies founded in The United States have been at the forefront of the digital revolution, inventing technology that has changed the world and the way we live forever.

So how is that reflected in the number of information requests from its government to these companies?  This chart shows many requests have come from the USA compared to the rest of the world.

Since 2010, between 32.17% and 40.65% of all requests made have come from the US.

The internet has changed everything about how we live our lives, from buying a book to chatting with friends, everything we do online results in data. Finally, many of the mysteries around where this data ends up are now coming to light. Which companies are your country requesting your data from?

METHODOLOGY

To create these visualizations we started by generating a list of popular companies, including the top tech giants and the most popular social media platforms. We then had to check if each company had an easily accessible transparency report.

Or researchers then collected the transparency information from the chosen companies from 2010 – 2018. Each company displayed their data in slightly different ways, splitting things into different categories or using different words to describe the same type of data request, so our researchers had to decode this information and made sure it was all standardized.

SOURCES

Read Is your government requesting user data from tech giants? by Alex Ion on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter