Methodology for this report

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The 100 Leading Media Companies are ranked by net revenue generated from their U.S. media properties-broadly defined as media distribution businesses supported by advertising.

Revenue from non-media activities is not included in totals. Non-media areas include book publishing, book and record clubs, movie production, media-buying services in traditional media or on the Internet, electronic retailing, real estate, paper mills, wireless services, trade show divisions and Yellow Pages publishing. For the reader's convenience, Advertising Age presents a top 10 ranking of U.S. Yellow Pages publishers (see P. S-8).

Revenue is either for yearend 2000 or the latest available fiscal year and generally is stated pro forma-either a company's own pro forma reading or that provided by secondary sources. Pro forma figures are applied to both years as if acquisitions and divestitures were on or off the books for two consecutive years.

All reported revenue figures should be considered estimates. For many companies on the list Ad Age estimates media breakouts using secondary sources. Main sources include BIA Research for radio and TV, Duncan's Radio Market Guide for radio and Paul Kagan Associates for cable networks. Other sources include the Yellow Pages Publishers Association, the Audit Bureau of Circulations and Ad Age's Magazine 300 report (AA, June 18).

Composition of the Top 100 includes listings for 50/50 joint ventures since under standard accounting practices the revenue streams of such ventures do not land at either "parent" company. Those 50/50-owned companies in this year's Top 100 ranking include Lifetime Television, MSNBC and Comedy Central. Similarly, media companies like A&E Television Networks stand alone on the list because no "parent" owns a majority; in this case Walt Disney Co. owns 37.5%, Hearst Corp. 37.5%, and NBC TV 25%.

Foreign media returns are excluded from media revenue when they account for 10% or more of total corporate revenue. Foreign-based media companies ranked solely by returns from their U.S. media holdings are United Business Media and Reed Elsevier, London; Bertelsmann's Gruner & Jahr, Hamburg; Lagardere's Hachette Filipacchi, Paris; News Corp, Sydney; and VNU, Haarlem, The Netherlands.

Staff for this report:

R. Craig Endicott, DataCenter editor; Kevin Brown, Group data manager; Mike Ryan, editor, Special Reports; Scott MacDonald and Mark Schumann, research coordinators; Julie A. Johnson, Jennie Sierra and Laura Smith, special assistants.

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