When it comes to all things related to advertising, marketing, and entertainment, media companies are generally at the helm. Having long since been a huge part of the modern entertainment landscape, these companies are responsible for producing content and publishing it to the masses (hence the term ‘mass media’). While in the past, this often took the form of traditional media such as television, radio, or posters, nowadays with the advent of the Internet, more content is being created for online audiences.
What are media companies?
To put it succinctly, a media company is a business responsible for creating and publishing content regularly. These can include owners of newspapers and magazines, where content is both published online and in print. Because the definition of the word ‘media’ is so broad – it encompasses all the means of communication that can reach a wide range of people – the media industry also includes businesses that dabble in film and music production, graphic design, and social media.
Occasionally, media companies may merge or be bought out by another larger company, creating a media group or media conglomerate. These parent companies own numerous smaller media companies that can have no relation to each other whatsoever. This phenomenon is often seen in the United States, with many critics arguing that it eliminates press freedom and editorial independence, especially since it results in running small independent media companies out of business.
With more people online than ever before, some media companies are niching down to focus on digital media only. Some digital media companies will create their own unique content, whereas others focus on providing a platform for users to consume already existing content or upload their own. As digital media can be read almost anywhere in the world, these companies are a goldmine for advertisers, marketers, and brands to get their message out there.
What do media companies do?
Media companies usually provide readers with different kinds of information. For example, a media company focusing on news reporting might publish breaking news articles and in-depth investigations. Other companies may be focused on entertainment, so they might publish short listicles, video skits, and quizzes. Some media companies may cover a broad range of topics, including politics, business, lifestyle, health and wellness, or travel, whereas others might specialize in only one topic.
Aside from print and website publications, most media companies have large followings on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The nature of these platforms and their different target demographics allow companies to showcase a different side of their brand to audiences, creating more opportunities to produce content. With the vast amount of content these companies produce, advertisers and marketers may choose to work with them in releasing an advertising or marketing campaign.
Most media companies generate revenue through advertising – more specifically, selling ad space either digitally (on websites, newsletters, EDMs, social media posts, and podcasts) or traditionally (in newspapers, magazines, and tv). Prices range from where the ad is placed, how big the ad is, and how long it is placed for. For digital advertisements, advertisers have the option of using programmatic advertising. This is where algorithmic software is used to buy and sell online ad spaces. As a result of automation, programmatic advertising is comparatively more efficient and targeted compared to the traditional method of buying ad space.
Unlike the hard selling of advertising, creating sponsored content is a softer approach to getting a brand identity in front of the right audiences. Statistics have shown that people remember branded content more than they remember traditional advertising. If done right, most sponsored content looks almost identical to the original content written by the company. It is still promotional media paid for by an advertiser, but instead of being bombarded with hard selling, an audience might feel more engaged or interested in learning a new topic. This, therefore, makes the brand look more credible and trustworthy in its field.
Major media companies
Here are a few major media groups and companies, both traditional and digital, listed below in no particular order:
Otherwise known as the parent company of Google, Alphabet is considered one of the Big Five American information technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Although Google is mainly synonymous with tech software, it has recently expanded into more media-related fields with its acquisition of YouTube in 2006, and further branched into music streaming through YouTube Music. The Google search engine and analytics services are often used by marketers to find and test keywords to improve a website’s SEO, whereas Google Ads allows advertisers to display ads through a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model.
An international mass media company founded in 1909, Condé Nast is made up of multiple big-name media brands, including Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Wired, and Vanity Fair. These publications focus on topics ranging from luxurious fashion and beauty to technology and politics. 2011 saw the company launching a new division called Condé Nast Entertainment, concentrating on producing and distributing film, tv, and online videos, as well as virtual reality content.
Formerly known as Facebook, Inc., Meta is a globally recognized media company that many people are familiar with. Aside from its own social media platform Facebook which has over 2 billion monthly active users, the company previously acquired Instagram, an image and short video sharing site with around 500 million daily active users. Facebook is used by a majority of companies to advertise and market their brands, especially since it is easy to optimize and target a buyer’s journey. Instagram is mainly used for influencer marketing, which fits the visual nature of the platform. The shopping features in the app make it easy for users to browse around for products and brands.
Calling itself an independent modern media company, Vox Media’s properties mainly consist of editorial brands such as The Verge, Vox, and New York (magazine). The editorial topics of its subsidiaries range from technology, gaming, general news, to politics, culture, and lifestyle. Vox, focusing on news and opinion, has been noted for its long-form and explanatory journalism, in particular with complicated and controversial topics. The Verge, on the other hand, specializes in producing technology news, alongside reviews of new phones, laptops, and the latest tech gear.