Business History Links
INDUSTRIES: Business History of Media
business biographies  

July 1,1835 - Carl Bertelsmann founded company to publish Lutheran hymnals.

1970 - CBS created CBS Films, television syndication division; 1971 - renamed Viacom (VIdeo & Audio COMmunications); spun off after FCC ruled that television networks could not syndicate programs they produced (owning cable systems, TV stations in same market); 1985 - acquired MTV Networks for $550 million from Warner Communications; June 1987 - controlling interest acquired by National Amusements Inc. (founded 1936 as as Northeast Theatre Corporation by Michael Redstone), large cinema operator (Sumner Redstone); 1993 - acquired Paramount Communications (parent of Paramount Pictures); sold Madison Square Garden properties to Cablevision, Simon & Schuster’s educational publishing units to Pearson plc for almost $4 billion; acquired Blockbuster Entertainment (subsequently spun off); 2000 - merged with CBS.

July 1979 - William von Meister announced The Source, first popular online services company, at Plaza Hotel in New York; Isaac Asimov, sharing platform, proclaimed, "This is the beginning of the information age" (recalled Bettie Steiger, former Source executive, Xerox marketing executive at Palo Alto Research Center); May 24, 1985 - (41) established Quantum Computer Services to sell video-game software to users electronically; hired Procter & Gamble marketing executive Stephen M. "Steve" Case (26); set up chat rooms where people could "talk" to each other via home computers; October 1991 - name changed to America Online, Inc.

William F. von Meister - AOL  ( ACfU3U1tbWeiay5Do888YBAFu_zhyWW6pw&w=685)

March 4, 1989 - Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. announced plans to merge into the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate.

September 22, 1995 - Time Warner announced $7.5 billion acquisition of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.; FTC did not approve the deal until September, 1996, during which time the value of Time Warner's stock lost $6.5 billion.

April 15, 1997 - America On Line, begins service in Japan.

September 8, 1997 - America Online (AOL) brokered  elaborate three-way deal to acquire CompuServe; WorldCom paid $1.2 billion in stock to acquire H&R Block's 80% stake in CompuServe; handed over CompuServe's base of 2.6 million subscribers to AOL plus $175 million in exchange for ASN, AOL's Internet telecommunications division; deal strengthened WorldCom's technological capabilities: ASN, CompuServe's key technology (speedy telecommunication lines, Internet connections).

November 24, 1998 - America Online confirmed it was buying Netscape Communications in a deal ultimately worth $10 billion.

January 10, 2000 - America Online agreed to buy Time-Warner for $162 billion.

December 14, 2000 - The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved the $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner.

January 11, 2001 - The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of America Online and Time Warner.

January 12, 2003 - AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case announced his resignation.

June 4, 2003 - Martha Stewart stepped down as head of her media empire, hours after federal prosecutors in New York charged her with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, securities fraud and lying to investigators.

March 15, 2004 - Martha Stewart resigned from the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia 10 days after she was convicted in a stock scandal.

(AOL), Kara Swisher (1998). AOL.COM: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads, and Made Millions in the War for the Web. (New York, NY: Times Books, 333 p.). Reporter (Wall Street Journal). Case, Stephen McConnell; Gates, Bill, 1955- ; Von Meister, William F., 1942-1995; America Online, Inc.--History; Online information services industry--United States--History; Internet service providers--United States--History; Businesspeople--United States--Biography. 

Steve Case ( faces/case_steve_2.jpg)

Gerald Levin ( 2002/01/07/levin_200x220.jpg)

(AOL), George Thornally (1999). AOL by George!: The Inside Story of America Online. (Livingtone, NJ: Urly Media, 216 p.). America Online, Inc.--History; Online information services industry--United States--History; Internet Service Providers--United States--History.

(AOL), David Stauffer (2000). It's a Wired Wired World: Business the AOL Way. (Milford, CT: Capstone, 210 p.). Case, Stephen McConnell; America Online, Inc.--History; America Online, Inc.--Management; Internet service providers--United States--History; Online information services industry--United States--History; Businesspeople--United States--Biography.

(AOL), Mary E. Foley with Martha I. Flnney (2002). Bodacious: An AOL Insider Cracks the Code to Outrageous Success for Women. (New York, NY: AMACOM, 240 p.). Women--Employment--United States; Career development--United States; Vocational guidance for women--United States; Success in business--United States; America Online (Online service).

(AOL Time Warner), Alec Klein (2003). Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 352 p.). Reporter (Washington Post). Case, Stephen McConnell; Levin, Gerald M.; America Online, Inc.--History; AOL Time Warner--History.

(AOL Time Warner), Kara Swisher with Lisa Dickey (2003). There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future. (New York, NY: Crown Business, 320 p.). Reporter (Wall Street Journal). America Online, Inc.--History; AOL Time Warner--History. 

(AOL Time Warner), Nina Monk (2004). Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Fall of AOL Time Warner. (New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 368 p.). Reporter (Vanity Fair). Case, Stephen McConnell; Levin, Gerald M.; AOL Time Warner--History; Businessmen--United States--Biography; Internet service providers--United States--History; Online information services industry--United States--History; Publishers and publishing--United States--History; Motion picture industry--United States--History; Consolidation and merger of corporations--United States--Case studies. 

(AOL Time Warner), Ted Leonsis; with John Buckley (2010). The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets to Extraordinary Success in Life and Work. (Washington, DC, Regnery Pub., 256 p.). Vice Chairman Emeritus, AOL.  Success in business. Humble beginnings to college at Georgetown University to start in the tech industry at Wang to first successful forays into entrepreneurship (Redgate Communications acquired by AOL); main screw-up of merger with Time-Warner:–inability, due to internal politics, to sell AOL broadband over Time Warner’s powerful cable system.

(Blackburn Group), Michael Nolan (1989). Walter J. Blackburn: A Man for All Media. (Toronto, ON: Macmillan of Canada, 258 p.). Blackburn, Walter J. (Walter Juxon), 1914-1983; Blackburn Group -- History; London free press -- History; Broadcasting -- Ontario -- London -- History; Publishers and publishing -- Ontario -- London -- Biography; Broadcasters -- Ontario -- London -- Biography.

(CanWest), Marc Edge (2007). Asper Nation: Canada's Most Dangerous Media Company. (Point Roberts, WA: New Star Books,, 326 p.). Israel ("Izzy") Asper;. Mass media -- Canada. Canada's largest news media company; political perils involved in allowing Asper family to dominate Canadian media.

Israel ("Izzy") Asper - CanWest  (

(CanWest), Peter C. Newman (2008). Izzy: The Passionate Life and Turbulent Times of Izzy Asper, Canada's Media Mogul. (Toronto, ON: Harpercollins Canada, 512 p.). Former Editor-in-Chief of the Toronto Star and Maclean’s. Mass media -- Canada. Canada's leading media mogul; epic, unauthorized life story of Izzy Asper, true visionary and a self-made billionaire; one of most charismatic, powerful Canadian tycoons of past quarter century; grew tiny television station into CanWest empire; became Canada's most profitable television network; ability to create warm, electric moments among friends and loyalists, inspire fear in his critics and enemies.

(Clear Channel), Roger Parry (2003). Enterprise: The Leadership Role. (London, UK: Profile Business, 308 p.). CEO of the International Division of Clear Channel International Ltd. Leadership; executives. 

(Cox Enterprises), Charles Glover (1998). Journey Through Our Years: The Story of Cox Enterprises, Inc. (Marietta, GA: Longstreet, 224 p.). Cox Enterprises, Inc.

(Diller), George Mair (1997). The Barry Diller Story: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Entertainment Mogul. (New York, NY: Wiley, 348 p.). Diller, Barry; Chief executive officers -- United States -- Biography.

Barry Diller ( barry_diller_150x140.jpg)

(Diller), Jerome Tuccille (1998). Barry Diller: The Life and Times of a Media Mogul. (Seacaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group, p.). Diller, Barry; Chief executive officers--United States--Biography.

(Fininvest s.p.a.), Giovanni Ruggeri, Mario Guarino (1994). Berlusconi: Inchiesta sul Signor TV. (Milano, Italy: Kaos, 294 p. [2nd ed.]). Berlusconi, Silvio, 1936- ; Businesspeople--Italy--Biography; Television and politics--Italy; Italy--Politics and government--1994-.

(Fininvest s.p.a.), Giuseppe Fiori (1995). Il Venditore: Storia di Silvio Berlusconi e della Fininvest. (Milano, Italy: Garzanti, 217 p.). Berlusconi, Silvio, 1936- ; Fininvest, s.p.a.; Prime ministers--Italy--Biography; Businesspeople--Italy--Biography; Television and politics--Italy; Italy--Politics and government--1976-1994.

(Hachette), Vincent Nouzille, Alexandra Schwartzbrod (1998). L'Acrobate: Jean-Luc Lagardère, ou, Les Armes du Pouvoir. (Paris, FR: Seuil, 345 p.). Lagardère, Jean-Luc, 1928-2003; Industrialists--France--Biography. Chairman of media and defense conglomerate.

(Purple Moon Media), Brenda Laurel (2001). Utopian Entrepreneur. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 116 p.). Laurel, Brenda; Purple Moon Media (Firm)--History; Interval Research Corporation--History; Entrepreneurship--United States; Corporations--Moral and ethical aspects--United States; Social responsibility of business--United States; Children's software--United States; Computer software industry--United States; Businesswomen--United States--Biography.

(Morgan Murphy Media), Bill Beck and Richard S. Nickeson (1996). Murphy: The Beginning of a Media Empire. (Superior, WI: Evening Telegram Company, 64 p.). 1890 - John T. Murphy acquired newspaper in Superior, WI;  Morgan Murphy (son) diversified into electronic media (radio, television, cable interests).

(Martha Stewart Living), Jerry Oppenheimer (1997). Martha Stewart-- Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography. (New York, NY: Morrow, 399 p.). Stewart, Martha; Home economists--United States--Biography; Businesswomen--United States--Biography.

Martha Stewart (

(Martha Stewart Living), Christopher M. Byron (2002). Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. (New York, NY: Wiley, 405 p.). Stewart, Martha; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; Artisans--United States--Biography; Businesswomen--United States--Biography. 

(Martha Stewart Living), Lloyd Allen (2006). Being Martha: The Inside Story of Martha Stewart and Her Amazing Life. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 240 p.). Friend of Family. Stewart, Martha; Home economists--United States--Biography; Businesswomen--United States--Biography. Flesh-and-blood woman behind glamorous public image.

(Martha Stewart Living), Joann F. Price (2007). Martha Stewart: A Biography. (Westport, CT : Greenwood Press: Westport, Conn : Greenwood Press, 132 p.). Writing Coach and Instructor (Metropolitan State College of Denver). Stewart, Martha; Home economists--United States--Biography; Businesswomen--United States--Biography. Self-made woman behind media, merchandising empire; rose from modest upbringing, became one of most successful, wealthiest businesswomen in history.

(Time Inc.), Christopher M. Byron (1986). The Fanciest Dive: What Happened When the Media Empire of Time/Life Leaped without Looking into the Age of High-Tech (New York, NY: Norton, 280 p.). Time, inc.; TV-cable week; Television programs--United States--Periodicals--History; Cable television--United States--Periodicals--History; Periodicals--Publishing--United States--History; Mass media--United States--History.

(Time Warner), Connie Bruck (1994). Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 395 p.). Ross, Steve, 1927-1992; Time Warner, Inc.; Mass media--United States--Biography.

Steve Ross - Time Warner (

(Turner), Reese Schonfeld (2001). Me and Ted Against the World: The Unauthorized Story of the Founding of CNN. (New York, NY: Cliff Street, 407 p.). Turner, Ted; Schonfeld, Reese; Cable News Network; Television broadcasting of news--United States.

(Turner), Ken Auletta (2004). Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire. (New York, NY: Norton, 205 p.). Turner, Ted; Businesspeople--United States--Biography; Sports team owners--United States--Biography; Telecommunication--United States--Biography. 

(Viacom), Sumner Redstone with Peter Knobler (2001). A Passion to Win (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 322 p.). CEO, Viacom. Redstone, Sumner; Viacom International.

NIGHTLINE UPCLOSE: SUMNER REDSTONE: 1/9/03 Sumner Redstone - Viacom  (

(Virgin Group Ltd.), Richard Branson (2006). Screw It, Let's Do It : Lessons In Life. (London, UK: Virgin Group, 128 p.). Chairman of the Virgin Group. Branson, Sir Richard; Virgin Group, Ltd. Lessons from life that have helped him through his business and personal life.

(Vivendi), Jean-Marie Messier (2000). Faut-Il Avoir Peur de la Nouvelle Economie? (Tr.: "Who's Afraid of the New Economy"). (Paris, FR: Hachette littératures, 237 p.). Former CEO, Vivendi Universal. Messier, Jean-Marie, 1956- ; Vivendi (Firm)--Anecdotes; Information technology--Economic aspects--France; Big business--France.

Jean-Marie Messier ( images/2001/07/16/jean-marie_messier_1150x140.jpg)

(Vivendi), Jo Johnson and Martine Orange (2003). The Man Who Tried To Buy the World: Jean-Marie Messier and Vivendi Universal. (New York, NY: Portfolio, 268 p.). Paris Correspondent (Financial Times); Business Reporter (Le Monde). Messier, Jean-Marie, 1956- ; Bronfman family; Vivendi (Firm)--History; Universal Pictures (Firm); Seagram Company--History; Businessmen--France--Biography; Businessmen--Canada--Biography; Conglomerate corporations--France; Conglomerate corporations--Canada; Consolidation and merger of corporations--France--Case studies; Consolidation and merger of corporations--Canada--Case studies; Consolidation and merger of corporations--United States--Case studies.   

(Whittle Communications) Vance H. Trimble (1995). An Empire Undone: The Wild Rise and Hard Fall of Chris Whittle. (Seacaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Co., 371 p.). Whittle, Chris; Businesspeople--United States--Biography; Advertising--United States; Business failures--United States.

Ken Auletta (1997). The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Superhighway. (New York, NY: Random House, 346 p.). Businessmen--United States--Biography;  Telecommunication--United States--Biography; High technology industries--United States--Biography.

Ben H. Bagdikian; with a New Preface on the Internet and Communications Cartels (2000). The Media Monopoly. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 288 p. [6th pbk. ed.]). Mass media--Economic aspects--United States; Monopolies--United States.

Ben H. Bagdikian (2004). The New Media Monopoly. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 299 p.). Mass media--Ownership. 

Asa Briggs and Peter Burke (2001). A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet (Malden, MA: Blackwell). Mass media--History; Mass media--Social aspects.

Jean Folkerts, Dwight L. Teeter, Jr. (2002). Voices of a Nation: A History of Mass Media in the United States (Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, [4th ed.]). Mass media--United States--History.

Alec Foege (1996). The Empire God Built: Inside Pat Robertson's Media Machine. (New York, NY: Wiley, 242 p.). Robertson, Pat; Television in religion--United States; Evangelicalism--United States.

Richard Hack (2003). Clash of the Titans: How the Unbridled Ambition of Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch Has Created Global Empires That Control What We Read and Watch. (Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press, 448 p.). Turner, Ted; Murdoch, Rupert, 1931- ; News Corporation; Businesspeople--United States--Biography; Mass media--United States--Biography; Mass media--Australia--Biography; Cable News Network.

Jonathan A. Knee, Bruce C.N. Greenwald, Ava Seave (2009). The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies. (New York, NY, Portfolio.320 p.).investment banker; Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management (Columbia Business School); Principal, Cofounder of Quantum Media. Mass media Management. Inexcusable financial performance beneath Big Media's false veneer of power; since 2000 - largest media conglomerates have lost $200 billion in market capitalization; consistently underperformed for over generation; misguided investment, acquisition strategies have created paradox - faster revenues grow,  worse stocks perform.

Kevin Maney (1995). Megamedia Shakeout: The Inside Story of the Leaders and the Losers in the Exploding Communications Industry. (New York, NY: Wiley, 358 p.). Mass media--United States--Finance; Mass media--Technological innovations; Corporations, American.

Robert G. Picard (2002). The Economics and Financing of Media Companies. (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 270 p.). Mass media--Economic aspects; Mass media--Finance.

Gordon Pitts (2002). Kings of Convergence: The Fight for Control of Canada's Media. (Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 346 p.). Business Columnist (Toronto Globe and Mail). Mass media--Canada--Biography; Mass media--Canada. 

Robert Sobel (1976). The Manipulators: America in the Media Age. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 458 p.). Mass media--United States--History; Popular culture--United States; Universities and colleges--United States.

Richard T. Stillson (2006). Spreading the Word: A History of Information in the California Gold Rush. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 274 p.). Teaches History (George Mason University). Communication--Social aspects--California--History--19th century; Mass media--United States--History--19th century; Catalogs, Publishers’--United States--Bibliography; California--Gold discoveries--Information resources--History--19th century; California--Guidebooks--Bibliography; California--Maps--Bibliography. Communications culture in mid-nineteenth century; how easterners who traveled West during California gold rush of 1849–51 obtained, assessed, and used information. 

Dana Lee Thomas (1981). The Media Moguls : From Joseph Pulitzer to William S. Paley: Their Lives and Boisterous Times. (New York, NY: Putnam, 237 p.). Press -- United States -- History.

Mark Tungate (2004). Media Monoliths: How Great Media Brands Thrive and Survive. (Sterling, VA: Kogan Page, 261 p.). Mass media--Economic aspects; Brand name products.


Business History Links

Chronomedia (Terra Media)                                             

Designed by David Fisher, editor of the international media journal Screen Digest for more than 30 years, to become the most comprehensive and accurate timeline of developments in communications media ever compiled. Integrates references to all audio-visual media (film and cinema, radio and television, cable and satellite, interactive (multi)media, photography, telegraphy, telephony, printing and publishing) to see the parallel developments and interactions that have formed today's media. However, for anyone wishing to follow a particular thread, links are included to allow chains of references to be followed.

National Media Museum
Part of the NMSI Museums Group (National Museum of Science and Industry), amazing archive of information devoted to film, photography, television, radio and the web

New Communication Technologies, Their History and Social Influence: An Annotated Bibliography                                                
University of Wisconsin Digital Collections: extensive annotated bibliography covers scholarship on the history and influence of new communication technologies (new media  over 3,200 titles linked by 11,000 key terms radio, telegrams, a range of sound recordings, and telephones).


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