Media covers a wide variety of streams – advertising, broadcasting and networking, news, print and publication, digital, recording and motion pictures, Each has its own associated infrastructure. Media companies operate within these streams and offer products and services to end users from individuals to large organizations. This list of top 10 global media companies provides a look into their businesses and operations. It is ranked in descending order of market cap figures.
AT&T (ATT): Through its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. in June 2018 , it gained these media properties:
- Networks (Turner broadcasting and HBO that include local and international brands like TNT, TBS, CNN, and Cartoon Network; pay TV; and associated websites like CNN.com.)
- Filmed Entertainment (motion pictures, TV shows, and videogames under the Warner Bros. brand)
- Publishing (books and magazine publications, related websites)
In 2015, it acquired DirecTV (DTV)  and gained operations across the US and Latin America, DirecTV is a digital TV entertainment service provider via a satellite network. It's split into three segments namely, DIRECTV US, DIRECTV Latin America and DIRECTV Sports Networks. The parent company has a market cap of $248.58 as of October 2018 , with revenues of $41.7 billion in 2017. 
Walt Disney (DIS): A large media and entertainment group with multiple subsidiaries and an international presence, Walt Disney was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in Burbank, California. Its five segments cover the following:
- Media Networks (everything within TV, radio, and cable networks, and related operations)
- Parks and Resorts (theme parts, hotels, resorts, sports complex, dining and entertainment facilities, and water sports establishments)
- Studio Entertainment (live action and animated pictures for distribution in the U.S. through subsidiaries and worldwide through partner companies)
- Consumer Products (licensing and retailing of trade names, characters and properties, plus educational books and magazines)
- Interactive Media (produces online and mobile games, and gaming consoles)
It has a market cap of $172.82 billion  as of October 2018 and revenues of $55.14 billion in 2017 .
Comcast Corp (CMCSA): Established in 1963 with headquarters in Philadelphia, Comcast is one of the largest global media, entertainment and communications companies listed on the NASDAQ. Its business is run through five segments:
- Cable Communications (video, high-speed Internet, and voice services)
- Cable Networks (national, regional, sports, news, international cable television networks)
- Broadcast Television (Telemundo and NBC)
- Filmed Entertainment (films and plays)
- Theme Parks (in Orlando and Hollywood)
It has a market cap of $160.60 billion  as of October 2018 and revenues of $84.53 billion in 2017 .
Charter Communications (CHTR): Charter Communications acquired Time Warner Cable in 2015, giving it a significant media presence. Time Warner Cable Inc. has a wide portfolio of products and service. It provides video, high-speed data, and voice services in the U.S. through its own broadband cable systems. Additionally, it also offers networking, advertising and transport services. NaviSite, a subsidiary company, offers IT solutions and cloud services. Time Warner Cable was established in the year 2003. The parent company has a market cap of $86.93 billion as of October 2018  annual revenue of $41.6 billion in 2017 .
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX): Twenty-First Century Fox is focused on television broadcasting and film production. Its business operations are split across four major segments:
- Cable Network Programming (production, licensing, program distribution, cable and satellite broadcast in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.)
- Filmed Entertainment (production of movies for global licensing and distribution)
- Television (broadcasting and operations of network programming and TV stations)
- Direct Broadcast Satellite Television (broadcast services in Italy, Germany, and Austria)
It has a market cap of $85.35 billion  as of October 2018 and annual revenues of $28.5 billion  in 2017.
Thomson Reuters (TRI): Two storied companies came together in 2008 when Canada's The Thomson Corporation, a multinational company grounded in mass media acquired Reuters Group, which houses the much celebrated newswire service. The Thomson Corporation dates back to 1934  and was founded by Roy Thomson. Reuters was founded in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter . The company has a market cap of $32.34 billion  and annual revenues of $11.33 billion in 2017 .
CBS Corporation (CBS): CBS Corp is in the business of creating and distributing media content to global audience across multiple platforms. It operates across TV, radio, and print, as well as advertising services, including the ownership and management of ad spaces like billboards, transit paths, benches, trains, buses, etc. It was established in 2005 and is headquartered in New York. It has a market cap of $21.19 billion  and annual revenues of $13.69 billion  in 2017.
WPP Plc. (WPPGY): Established in 1985 and based in London, WPP acts as a parent holding company. Through its subsidiaries, it provides communications services across multiple segments. Popular brands owned by WPP include JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Y&R and Grey. Its services include marketing communications, reputation management, brand management, and lobbying services. Its market cap is $14.35 billion  as of October 2018 and revenues were $19.87 billion  for 2017. WPP is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
DISH Network Corporation (DISH): The Dish Network operates as a parent holding company. Through its multiple subsidiaries, it provides TV services through direct satellite broadcast, broadband services, movies and games on demand for rental and sale. It was established in 1980. It has a market cap of $16.62 billion as of October 2018 and revenues of $14.39 billion in 2017.
Viacom Inc. (VIAB): Established in 2005 in New York, Viacom is a creator and provider of entertainment content for global audience through digital (online and mobile), film, and television. Popular brands include Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Comedy Central, Spike TV, Centric, etc. It also operates gaming businesses through websites like AddictingGames.com and Shockwave.com. Its filmed entertainment business includes brand names like Paramount Pictures, MTV Films, Nickelodeon, etc. It has a market cap of $14.60 billion in October 2018 and annual revenues of $13.2 billion as of December 2017.
The Bottom Line
Media is a diverse field. Many companies in the “media” category also operate businesses that may not necessarily qualify as media, such as software solutions, lobbying services, etc. Investors looking for investments in specifically media companies should carefully study the different business segments, operational areas, business domains, and corporate structure to ensure the desired companies fit into their investment profile.
1. AT&T acquisition of Time Warner
9. Charter Communications market cap
13. Thomson history
14. Reuters history
15 Thomson Reuters market cap
19. WPP market cap
24. Viacom revenues