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The 100 leading Media Companies are ranked by U.S. operating revenue generated by their media properties -- large-ly defined as distribution services supported by advertising.

Revenue from non-media activities are not in totals. Non-media areas in this report and among these companies generally take the form of book publishing, book and record clubs, TV/movie production and syndication, media-buying services, electronic retailing, real estate, paper mills, wireless services and Yellow Pages. However, a Yellow Pages' chart is shown separately (see accompanying chart).

Revenue is either for yearend '97 or the latest available fiscal year and may be stated pro forma. The pro forma readings ensure that revenue composites for the 100 Media as a group are sustained year-to-year, otherwise whole divisions or complete companies that were sold would be off the books and off the chart for at least a year. Footnotes to individual media charts indicate the treatment of revenues.


The biggest mergers and acquisitions in U.S. media take place among the 100 Media. The leading deals per medium involving the 100 Media since January 1997 are shown on Pages S-6 and S-10.

Pro forma totals allow a more current reading of media players in the constantly shifting acquisitions market that has claimed eight of the 100 Media from last year's chart. Two listed this year currently are being acquired by other 100 Media companies, and a third, Tele-Communications Inc., may be headed for AT&T Corp.

Chart entries generally bear the name of the parent, but in the case of companies with broad segments, the entry is the known media unit.


A company must own more than 50% of a media unit before consolidating revenue. This standard accounting practice allows three companies to receive a listing: Lifetime Television, owned 50/50 by Hearst Corp. and Walt Disney Co.; A&E Networks, owned 37.5% each by Hearst and Disney and 25% by NBC owner, General Electric Co., and Primestar, owned in varying percentages by five cable operators.

Figures cited for public companies are pulled from public documents, although may be noted as pro forma or as restated returns by the company. For public companies, Advertising Age also may adjust composite figures, such as for "broadcast," in order to isolate the "TV" and "radio" components. Revenue for non-public companies either is provided by the company or estimated.

Estimates are calculated by Ad Age editors or obtained from the following: For cable, Paul Kagan Associates; radio, BIA Research and Duncan's Radio Market Guide; TV, BIA Research.


R. Craig Endicott, Dataplace editor; Kevin Brown, information services editor; Susen Taras, research editor; Megan Friedly, research coordinator; Mike Ryan, editor, Special Reports, and Nancy Coltun Webster, deputy editor, Special Reports; Geoffrey Shives, design director; Jack Volpi, editorial assistant; Dara Alpert and Peter Killian, research assistants.

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