Published on .

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

Revenue from non-media activities are not in totals. Non-media dollars generally take the form of book publishing, book and record clubs, TV/movie production and syndication, real estate, paper mills, wireless services and Yellow Pages, although these publishers are charted separately (see Page S-8).


Revenue is either for yearend 1995 or the latest available fiscal year and may be stated pro forma. The pro forma readings maintain the integrity of the Top 100 charted from year-to-year since they generally buy and trade media properties among themselves.

This year, for example, Outdoor Systems is the sum of its '95 returns and revenue of recently acquired Gannett Outdoor. Gannett Co. is presented pro forma due to its sale of outdoor and because of acquisition of Multimedia Inc., No. 48 last year.

Pro forma totals allow a more current reading of media players in the hot mergers & acquisitions market for radio and TV stations. Most tallies for radio companies in this report bear pro forma numbers as of June 1, 1996.

Nothing is static in this ever-changing area: American Radio Systems Corp.'s $194.7 million pro forma entry does not include its purchase of EZ Communications announced this month, giving American Radio a potential $283 million pro forma sum.

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


A company must own more than 50% of a media unit before consolidating its revenue. This standard accounting practice allows three companies owned 50% or less to receive their own listing: Lifetime Television, owned 50/50 by Hearst Corp. and Disney CapCities/ABC; A&E Television Networks, owned 37.5% each by Hearst and Disney and 25% by NBC owner, General Electric Co.; and USA Network, 50/50 owned by Viacom and MCA.

Figures for the 56 public companies cited are pulled from public documents. Revenue for non-public companies is provided by the company or estimated.

Estimates are calculated by Advertising Age editors or obtained from the following: for cable, Margo Black, Paul Kagan Associates; radio, Jim Duncan, Duncan's Radio Market Guide; direct broadcast, Jimmy Schaeffler, Carmel Group, and Rick Westerman, UBS Securities; TV, Melanie Mahaffey, BIA Publications.

Most Popular
In this article: