It’s said that six corporations control roughly 90% of the media outlets in the United States. This means that the websites you visit, the news outlets you watch and read are controlled by a handful of companies.
You might not think much about it, but the biggest media companies publish information that influences your business decisions and how you market your business.
Think about it for a second. How many decisions have you made based on news of the economy? That news is coming from just a few sources.
Fortunately, there are emerging and established companies outside of this sphere of influence. These companies are the ones that are the movers and shakers that you might not know about.
Keep reading to find out which media companies are making an impact.
It seems like every time we turn around, a new social media channel pops up. Entrepreneurs feel like they have to be on that channel first to market themselves. Usually, it turns out that no one else hops on the bandwagon, and it turns into a huge waste of time and energy.
Then came TikTok. What started out as a music video and fun lip-syncing platform turned into a massive marketing machine.
Brands are using the platform to create raw videos. These videos get a much broader reach than your typical ad. TikTok’s users tend to be younger, and they’re much more cynical when it comes to paid ads. The unpolished videos on TikTok get a much better response than anything else.
Do you have a library card? There’s a good chance that your membership includes Kanopy for free. If you haven’t heard of Kanopy, it’s a media company that’s worth knowing more about.
The company began in 2008 as an academic publisher. The company found a niche market by providing access to thousands of independent films and documentaries. They offer other content like Great Courses and PBS shows, too.
How does the company make money? Since viewers don’t pay anything to stream content, libraries and academic institutions pay for each viewing. The partner institutions pay a one-year or three-year licensing fee.
Since these organizations are footing the bill for your streaming, they do limit how many shows you can watch each month. That’s anywhere from five to ten shows or movies.
3. Endurance International Group
If you plan to own a website, you have to have a hosting provider. There’s a very good chance that your chosen hosting provider is owned by Endurance International Group (EIG).
They own BlueHost, HostGator, and about 75 other hosting companies. In November 2020, the company announced that it was being sold for $3 billion.
How does this impact your business? There is a lot of debate about the company’s reputation as a hosting provider. Customers have noted a drop in customer service after their hosting company was acquired by EIG. It remains to be seen if that will change under new ownership.
What if you can spend just $15 a year and watch all of the documentaries and shows about nature, history, and science that you want?
That’s the proposition posed by CuriosityStream. The company is led by Clint Stinchcomb, who was the co-founder of Poker Central. Prior to that, he was in various roles in TV and content programming and production.
It was only founded five years ago, and to date, it is one of the leading independent streaming platforms. It has a comprehensive library, and the platform’s price point is just right.
5. Wieden + Kennedy
Just do it. That’s one of the most iconic taglines in advertising. It was created by the Wieden + Kennedy ad agency.
It started in the early 1980s in Portland, Oregon with Nike as its only client. Together, the two companies combined creative forces to create some of the most memorable ad campaigns.
The Air Jordan campaigns with Spike Lee, the campaign featuring the 1999 U.S. National Soccer Team are among the ads produced by this company.
In 2018, the agency made waves with another Nike campaign – Dream Crazy, featuring Colin Kaepernick.
Over the years, the company’s work influenced popular culture around the world. It remains the largest independently owned agency in the entire industry.
Have you ever taken a survey on a website like Swagbucks? That’s the creative work of Prodege. They’re a marketing company that specializes in consumer data and customer rewards.
In the case of Swagbucks, members can play games and take surveys in exchange for bonuses and rewards. Businesses that partner with Swagbucks get valuable marketing insights.
The company recently bought another customer rewards company called Upromise. That’s where members can get rewards to help them pay off their student loans faster.
7. MotorTrend Group
You wouldn’t necessarily think of an auto magazine at the center of a large media company. Have you ever heard of Top Gear America? That’s produced by the MotorTrend Group.
The media company is at the center of the automotive industry. They oversee highly active social media accounts, magazines, websites, and original programs dedicated to cars.
The media company reaches millions of car enthusiasts every month. The auto industry makes up about 3% of the entire GDP of the United States. You should pay attention to this media company since it has influence over the industry.
How to Leverage Media for Your Business
Once you understand the hierarchy of media, it becomes easier to use it to your advantage. You can make the conscious decision to avoid these major media companies and market your business using other channels.
It becomes much more challenging to break through the noise that these media companies generate. With a little creativity, you can be successful.
Don’t Rely on One Marketing Channel
You know that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Why would you promote your business on one marketing channel?
Businesses complain whenever one of the major players tweaks an algorithm. They complain that they lose thousands of dollars in revenue and the ship is sinking fast.
The lesson for you is to diversify your marketing. Instead of relying on just Facebook or Google to generate traffic, you should focus on 2-3 channels that you can do consistently.
Know Your Value Proposition
Can you sum up your business in just a sentence? If you can’t, you need to figure out a way to do so. That’s your value proposition or unique selling proposition.
You can look at every media company on this list and sum up what they do and who they target in one or two sentences.
You have to be able to do the same for your business. It’s how you set your business apart from the competition and it’s what drives all of your marketing efforts.
Using Social Media
The biggest social media companies have a lot of control over small businesses. It’s one of the reasons why Facebook was hit with an antitrust lawsuit from the attorneys general in 46 states.
When you use social media, do so with your audience in mind. That’s one of the lessons to learn from the media companies listed in this article.
CuriosityStream understood its target market and used Facebook ads to grow its audience by 40%.
Public relations may be a little easier with media conglomerates than it was 20 years ago. One of the few advantages of media concentration is that the various platforms are more integrated.
You can spread your message across print and digital channels much more easily. You want to develop relationships with editors and writers who work for one of these conglomerates. You’ll be able to access other editors under the media umbrella.
That increases your chance for more positive coverage for your business.
Turning to Google
Google is known as a data company and an advertising company. Its power lies in its search engine. It where people go if they have a question.
They get the information that they need. You can position your business to get in front of these customers through SEO and paid search ads.
Know the Big and Small Media Companies
Does it make a huge difference to know the big and small media companies to your business? It can if you know how these companies work. At the very least, they should serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs.
Emerging social media companies like TikTok are great to use to promote your brand in unfiltered light. Of course, you can still depend on large media companies like Facebook and Google to reach your audience, too.
Remember that even though the conglomerates own most media outlets, you can still use them to your advantage with a creative integrated PR campaign.
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