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

Revenue from non-media activities are not in totals. Non-media areas include book publishing, book and record clubs, TV/movie production and syndication, media-buying services, electronic retailing, real estate, paper mills, wireless services and Yellow Page publishing.

Revenue is either for yearend '98 or the latest available fiscal year, and often is stated pro forma-either a company's own pro forma reading or that provided by a secondary source. Footnotes to charts segmenting the 100 by media category indicate the treatment of revenues.

Where segment reporting by public companies includes more than one medium in a common segment, Advertising Age breaks out the respective media. Radio and TV are most typically coupled under a "broadcasting" segment, in which case Ad Age isolates the "TV" and "radio" components.

Estimates are calculated by AA editors or obtained from the following: For cable, Paul Kagan Associates; radio, BIA Research and Duncan's Radio Market Guide; TV, BIA Research; outdoor, BT Alex Brown. Estimates are shown to the companies for comment.

Those held as 50/50 joint ventures are given a listing separate from either "parent," whose revenue streams don't include holdings of 50% or less anyway, according to standard accounting practices. Consequently, the "parent" does not receive credit for its 50% equity. Only one such venture drew enough revenues to qualify for the list: Lifetime Television, owned 50/50 by Hearst Corp. and Walt Disney Co.

Foreign media returns were excluded from total media revenue when they accounted for 10% or more of segment revenue.


As mentioned, the ranking does not include Yellow Pages publishing. The accompanying Yellow Pages chart reflects the size of this business, one whose players are changing as rapidly as their media cohorts.

GTE Corp. is expected to merge with Bell Atlantic Corp. in the fourth quarter, and Ameritech Corp. is poised to merge with SBC Communications by May 2000. U S West Dex directs the parent's Yellow Pages business. MediaOne, which previously handled Yellow Pages at U S West, was spun off last summer and later purchased

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