Not long ago, US productions, particularly feature films and television shows, dominated theater screens and television sets around the globe.1 Foreign productions provided relatively little competition. Today, other major global firms own US production houses, share co‐productions, or produce world‐class competitive products for a global media market elsewhere. Sony of Japan, the BBC of the United Kingdom, and Bertelsmann of Germany are good examples of foreign multimedia firms that compete daily with US media companies.
Yet US firms still control a majority of foreign sales in the global communication market. They are also expanding through regional partnerships, international joint ventures, or outright takeovers. Time Warner, Disney, 21st Century Fox (recently merged with Disney), News Corp, and Comcast (the owners of NBCUniversal) represent some of the major US media owners that dominate many global media, global communication, and global media‐related markets.
This chapter details the origins, assets, and global interests of major US multimedia firms, while noting their evolving nature through corporate mergers and buyouts. Table 6.1 lists five of the most prominent media companies in the United States. These could be considered the top five, depending on selection criteria.