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The 100 Leading Media Companies are ranked using the net revenues generated by their U.S.-based media properties.

Net revenues exclude ad agency commission and such circulation items as provision for newsstand returns, unpaid subscriptions and subscription agency commissions. These are accepted accounting practices by public companies.

Non-media activities are excluded from totals. Most non-media businesses attracting these companies are contract printing, book publishing, book and record clubs, movie and TV program production, syndication, news services and Yellow Pages.

Because the latter is such a large advertising medium, Ad Age has prepared a separate chart ranking the top 10 Yellow Pages publishers (see Page S-4).

Net revenue totals were either for 1993 or the latest available fiscal year. This procedure excludes current-year acquisitions Paramount Communications and Chicago Sun-Times Co. from revenues of Viacom International and Hollinger Inc., respectively.

Because Ad Age prefers a two-year review of current properties, pro forma results, when published, were used. Most public companies do not provide such a review.

Principles of consolidation followed by public companies are applied to privately owned companies in this report.

Namely, a company more than 50% owned is folded into the parent revenue stream. If 50% or less, the unit stands alone.

This opens the door for several cable networks and MSO joint ventures (50/50) to be ranked separate from their co-parents on the list of 100.

Standing alone in this report are Paragon Communications, an MSO co-owned by Time Warner and Houston Industries; Lenfest Group, an MSO co-owned by Liberty Media and Gerry Lenfest; USA Network, co-owned by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Viacom through its recent acquisition of Paramount; Arts & Entertainment, equally shared by Hearst Corp., Capital Cities/ABC and General Electric Co.; and Lifetime, now a Hearst Corp. and Cap Cities/ABC joint venture after Viacom sold its one-third interest earlier this year.

Returns for Falcon Cable and InterMedia include properties structured as partnerships.

Net revenues often aren't available on many cable companies because either they are private or they are co-owned and don't enter a co-parent's revenue stream.

Returns from A&E, Lifetime and ESPN were obtained from Paul Kagan Associates.

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