Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey are some of the most powerful media moguls in the world. They may be household names, but they’re not alone. Armed with new technology and emerging markets, a new crop of media titans is increasingly changing what the world watches, reads, and hears. In this week’s List, FP singles out a few of these moguls in the making.
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AFP/Getty Images Subhash Chandra
Who: Chairman of Indias Zee Telefilms Ltd. and the Essel Group
Controls: Nearly two dozen television channels, a film animation studio, and a major newspaper, reaching an audience of 350 million in more than 120 countries
Credentials: Named the Global Indian Entertainment Personality of the Year in 2004, Chandra owns the largest media and entertainment company in Indias notoriously fractured media market. Hes racked up a number of impressive firsts, including Indias first private broadcast satellite and the countrys first 24-hour news channel.
Next move: Zee recently signed a two-year contract with China Central Television to share news, documentary, and feature programming between the two growing countries, adding perhaps hundreds of millions of new viewers to his audience share.
Photo by Gabe Palacio/ImageDirect Gustavo Cisneros
Who: Chairman and CEO of Venezuelas Cisneros Group
Controls: One of the largest Spanish-language media companies in the Americas and Europe, including five television production and broadcasting companies, 11 pay TV channels, 12 radio stations, and several music and movie production firms
Credentials: With a combined global audience of 550 million, the Cisneros Group is one of the most influential media groups catering to Spanish speakers around the world. The immense popularity of telenovela programs in non-Spanish speaking markets cements Cisneross global influence. Indeed, Ugly Betty, a sitcom based on the Colombian megahit Betty la Fea, premiered to large audiences this season on ABC in the United States and has already been successfully spun-off in India and Russia.
Next move: Cisneros hopes to extend his clout over the growing U.S. Hispanic market. He recently signed a deal with Comcast to launch the United States first 24-hour Spanish movie channel and is expanding rapidly into the telecoms market, launching the first pay-as-you-go wireless service designed specifically for American Hispanics.
THOMAS CHENG/AFP/Getty Images Li Ruigang
Who: President of the state-owned Shanghai Media Group
Controls: 13 television channels, 11 radio stations, five newspapers and magazines, and an Internet television service in China
Credentials: Li, the first ever Chinese honored with Person of the Year by Varietys Chinese edition last year, heads Chinas second-largest media company. He is officially a government official, but that hasnt stopped Viacom, Sony, Universal Music, and CNBC from scrambling to ink deals with him.
Next move: In a move indicative of the growing power of the Internet in China, Shanghai Media Group and Intel announced a deal this year to broadcast digital movies, TV dramas, and interactive entertainment via the Web and on mobile phones in an attempt to reach the next generation of wired Chinese customers. With more than 400 million cell-phone users and 110 million Net surfers in China, Li is attempting to compete with larger Western media groups eager to enter the Chinese market, while balancing the desires of his patrons in Beijing.
HOLM, MORTEN/AFP/Getty Images David Montgomery
Who: Founder and executive chairman of Mecom Group, a Britain-based media investment group
Controls: Newspapers from Ukraine to Norway
Credentials: Montgomery has nearly two decades worth of experience in the British newspaper business, once editing popular British tabloid News of the World. During his controversial tenure at the Mirror Group, where he infamously fired staff and cut costs, the struggling publisher became a $2.2 billion powerhouse.
Next move: Montgomery recently became the first foreign owner of a German newspaper when he purchased a controlling stake in Berliner Zietung, one of Berlins largest newspapers. And this summer, he purchased Norways Orkla media companyEuropes fifth largestwith plans to bring his profits-or-else style of management to both.
Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images James Packer
Who: Executive chairman of Australias Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. and Australias richest man
Controls: The Nine Network, a major Australian TV station, as well as interests in several of Rupert Murdochs networks, in 60 national and 70 international magazine titles, including Money, People, and Cosmopolitan, and in a Hollywood-based production company
Credentials: The fourth generation of Packers to head the family media conglomerate, Packer represents old-style, family-owned media business gone global. Although the Packers are longtime friends and friendly rivals of Rupert Murdoch, the other 800-pound gorilla of Australian media, they are currently locked in a battle with him over the future of digital media Down Under.
Next move: Since inheriting the business from his father, Packer has expanded the family business into the lucrative gaming industry, opening casinos in Britain and Macau.