Newspaper-Magazine Monopolies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Newspaper-Magazine Monopolies


large capitalist enterprises that own a great number of newspapers, magazines, and other media of mass information and propaganda. The activity of newspaper-magazine monopolies clearly reveals the subordination of the press and other media of mass propaganda to the interests of monopolists, who are closely connected with the ruling circles and who carry out their policies. Also revealed is the dependence of bourgeois journalism on the money source.

The appearance of newspaper-magazine monopolies is linked to the general process of capitalism’s entry into the stage of imperialism and to the growth and development of monopolistic capital. The first newspaper trusts came into being in the USA (the Scripps trust, 1878) and in Great Britain (the Newnes trust, 1881). After them the following major newspaper concerns were established: the Harms worth brothers (who subsequently received the titles of Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere) and Beaverbrook in Great Britain; Hearst, McCormick and Patterson in the USA; and Hugenberg and Ullstein in Germany.

The large newspaper-magazine monopolies have absorbed newspapers owned by weaker companies by buying them out and by all sorts of “mergers.” The reduction in the number of newspapers has been accompanied by an increase in the circulation of the major, monopolized newspapers. Thus, in 1952 in the USA, 1,865 daily newspapers were published with a single-issue circulation of 55,370,000 copies; in Great Britain the figures were 122 newspapers and 31,000,000 copies; and in France, 151 newspapers and 10,193,000 copies. In 1966 the corresponding figures were 1,754 newspapers and 61,397,000 copies in the USA, 106 newspapers and 26,700,000 copies in Great Britain, and 117 newspapers and 11,872,000 copies in France.

In expanding their sphere of influence, the newspaper-magazine monopolies by their capital investments have gained control over many information agencies, paper and printing enterprises, plants that manufacture printers’ ink, and other establishments. In recent decades, with the growth of radio broadcasting and television, these monopolies have acquired many radio and television stations. Furthermore, by various methods of pressure, the “kings” of the bourgeois press exercise control over much of the mass information media and propaganda in their countries even when they do not own such media outright. Since they are advocates of the ideological expansion of imperialism and neocolonialism, the newspaper-magazine monopolies are attempting to take over the press, radio, and television in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Among the largest newspaper-magazine monopolies at the present time in Great Britain are Associated Newspapers, which owns three London daily newspapers, controls 13 daily and 21 weekly publications and the Southern Television Company, is the joint-owner of television stations in Australia, and has paper-and-pulp enterprises in Canada; Inter-national Publishing Corporation, founded by C. King, which has 230 newspapers and magazines in Great Britain, Africa, and Latin America and has capital investments in British commercial television as well as in the Canadian paper industry; and the R. Thomson concern, which has 169 newspapers, 150 periodical publications, and 30 radio and television stations in Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the USA the largest newspaper-magazine monopolies include the Gannett trust, with 30 newspapers as well as local radio and television stations; the Scripps-Howard association, with 18 newspapers and 75 percent of the stock in the United Press International agency; the New-house concern, with 22 newspapers; the Hearst monopoly, with 15 newspapers, 11 magazines, and a press syndicate that has 2,700 newspapers as clients; and Time-Life, Incorporated, with the magazines Time and Life in the USA (and special editions of these for Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America) and the magazine Fortune, which owns a radio station and enterprises in the timber and paper industry. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Springer monopoly owns five daily and two Sunday newspapers and several illustrated magazines and controls 80 percent of the press of West Germany. In France a widespread monopoly is the Hachette Press, which owns about 50 percent of the capital investments in a nationwide distribution organization and controls the largest evening newspaper, France-Soir, 11 weeklies, and other publications. Among the largest newspaper-magazine monopolies in Japan are Yomiuri Shimbun, controlling the Tokyo daily newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, several provincial newspapers, and two television centers; Asahi Shimbun, controlling the largest daily newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, and a number of evening newspapers and weeklies; and Mainichi Shimbun, controlling the second largest daily newspaper, Mainichi Shimbun, several weeklies and magazines, and an English-language newspaper.

The dominant position of the newspaper-magazine monopolies has evoked protest by democratic public opinion. For instance, in 1968 large-scale demonstrations against the activity of the Springer concern took place in West Germany.


Beglov, S. Monopolii slova. Moscow, 1969.
Matveev, V. A. Imperiia Flit-Strit. Moscow, 1961.
Inostrannaia pechat’: Kratkii spravochnik. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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