These corporations have found their way into every aspect of daily activities – often venturing into multiple avenues in which to target their potential clients. Each element of your life is impacted by these major corporations.
While flipping through your Super Mega Ultra TV package of hundreds of channels, you may be shocked to find out that the same companies own most of these channels. In fact, these companies control a whopping 90 percent of all media played across the United States (1).
Media monopoly is so strong that the powers in charge have been nicknamed “The Big Six.” These six corporations include Comcast, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.
Not only do these companies control every major entertainment channel, but they also control the news and are responsible for providing information to the masses in video format.
To make this matter worse, these same businesses are also responsible for media that is heard or read. CBS is only second to iHeartMedia (formally Clear Channel Communications) who owns 1200 radio stations to CBS’s 117 stations (2)(3). This is contrary to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 created by the FCC that states a company may own no more than 20 AM and 20 FM stations, which has since been revised to be handled on a case-by-case basis (4).
Food & Health
Go to your pantry and rotate the bottles and boxes so you see the backside. You’re bound to see the likes of Kraft, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever (5). You may be shocked to find that many of these same names are also in your medicine cabinet. These ten companies own hundreds of subsidiaries that brand everything from shampoo to ice cream to toilet paper.
Many of the companies even own their competitors. Procter & Gamble owns Dawn, Ivory, Joy, and Cascade dish soaps, as well as Tide, Cheer, and Gain laundry soaps.
Beverages are no different. While PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have an expectedly large roll in the beverage industry, Kraft and Nestle aren’t far behind. Even the beer industry has been monopolized. Outside of the booming craft beer world, corporate giant InBev owns 200 brands worldwide (6).
Our pets’ food falls victim to the same situation. In 2007, there was public outcry when melamine-tainted pet food was responsible for the deaths of thousands of family pets. This was due to Menu Foods, who produced pet food for 95 different brands. After the debacle, Simmons Pet Food, a subsidiary of Simmons Food, purchased Menu Foods, expanding their own manufacturing even further. Whether you’re buying a big name brand or the store brand, it’s likely manufactured by the same company (7).
Not to mention the major impact Monsanto has on agriculture – creating a situation where even our produce isn’t free from corporate power.
No mention of conglomerate entities would be complete without a nod to the pharmaceutical industry. While you’re at your medicine cabinet, you can look for the names Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline that dominate the healthcare industry (8). These companies are responsible not just for internal medicines and treatments, but even the bandages applied.
Whether you’re suffering from a mild headache or undergoing chemotherapy, these major corporations are responsible for the products designed to nurse you back to health.
Computer and Software
Surely, as you’re seated in front of your laptop, we should explore the computer industry. The majority of devices including laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones are largely operating off of the same operating systems. Microsoft Windows, Google Android, and Apple iOS, dominate the industry.
Microsoft rules the laptop and desktop market with over 90 percent of devices pre-installed with their operating system. Google leads the tablet market with nearly 62 percent of tablets sold utilizing Android. This is largely in part to the large number of electronics manufacturers that use their software (9). Apple has conquered the U.S. market for smartphones with nearly 42 percent of users carrying iPhones (10).
It’s no question that we all encounter conglomerate-owned products throughout our day. While some products are seemingly unavoidable, it is possible to make an impact on the overall control these companies have on your life.
Turn to independent businesses – whether local or online – to break away from the major labels that make their way into every household.
References & Image Credits:
(1) Business Insider
(2) Wikipedia: iHeartMedia
(3) Wikipedia: CBS Radio
(4) 10 Corporations Control Almost Everything You Buy
(6) InBev Brands
(7) Simmons Pet Food
(8) PM Live
(9) Operating Systems Share
(10) Tech Times