Study: Dozen Firms Drive Digital Media, Entertainment

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AOL Time Warner leads a group of 12 media companies that control much of the worldwide markets for digital media and entertainment, according to a study released yesterday by hi-tech market research firm In-Stat/MDR.

These 12 companies' combined annual revenue will grow from $150 billion in 2002 to $178 billion by 2007, In-Stat/MDR said.

Despite its massive losses lately, AOL Time Warner is the leader among the 12 companies with 22.4 percent of the group's value, the study said.

It is followed by The Walt Disney Co., Viacom and Vivendi Universal, each with about 10 percent or more; Sony, News Corp., Cox Enterprises and Bertelsmann with 5 percent each; and Lagardere SCA, GE/NBC, Grupo Televisa S.A. and Liberty Media, each with less than 5 percent.

Other findings of the study:

· The British Broadcasting Corp., NHK in Japan, PBS in the United States and Microsoft are strong influencers of the media industry.

· News Corp. has the early lead for interactive TV and is positioned to lead in the next generation of movies, videos and personalized programming. Liberty Media is close behind in this area.

· Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and other non-English-language programming represent the key long-term growth opportunity for all 16 companies.

· Microsoft is a media "dark horse" with its Windows Media 9 Series, "possibly creating a whole new genre of content on the Internet, that consumers will want to have available on their TV sets and cell phones."

· In-Stat/MDR, Scottsdale, AZ, is part of Reed Electronics Group, a division of Reed Elsevier

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