Who Owns the Financial Media?

who owns the financial media

Someone owns every company, be it retail, technology, financial services, media, etc. It could be a single owner, a group of people, or even the public who trade in their shares. 

Who owns a company combined with its model for making money, determines what the company sells and who the people that run it answer to.

NEST, for example, is owned by Dan Dillard, and we make money by helping people create sound financial plans and optimize their investments to achieve their goals. Anyone who works for NEST works in service of these priorities. 

If they don’t, then Dan holds them accountable. However, financial media companies are not held to the same standard.

We know this is obvious and elementary, but it’s important that we point it out because people are relying on media companies to help them make investing decisions. 

Financial media companies’ product is primarily your attention, which they capture by creating content so they can then sell advertising space. The other product is paywall content, which only subscribers can access.

Their product is not investing advice or helping you manage your portfolio. And their success metrics have nothing to do with whether or not your assets are growing. Financial media company profits do not rely on your success, but rather your continued consumption of their content.

Additionally, it’s important to know who owns these companies, because ultimately, they are controlling the message that financial media outlets are putting out. They control what they cover, how they cover it, and just as importantly, what they omit. 

A look at who owns some of these big financial media outlets might surprise you. And hopefully give you pause. There’s a lot of overlap and a lot of power to control the message that you’re getting and that the credulous are basing their investing strategies off of. 

Can you say “conflict of interest?”

Let’s look at some facts about a few of the big players in financial media.



Type of company: Media

Owned by: NBC Universal under the parent company, Comcast.

Publicly traded: NBCUniversal is not publicly traded on its own, but it’s owned by Comcast, which is. Comcast trades on NASDAQ as CMCSA.

Partnerships: CNBC has a strategic alliance with Dow Jones & Company and has extensive access to other outlets like MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Barron’s.

They also distribute their content through Yahoo Finance.


FOX Business News

Type of company: Media

Owned by: FOX Entertainment and FOX Corporation, both of which are owned by the Murdoch family. Members of the Murdoch family are international media tycoons. 

FOX Corporation trades publicly on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol FOXA.

Partnerships: Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp — “the largest news and information services provider in the English-speaking world,” owner of FOX news and Dow Jones. Dow Jones is the parent company of Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal.



Type of company: Media

Owned by: Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corp.

Publicly traded: News Corp is publicly traded on NASDAQ as NWSA

Partnerships and connections: Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp—”the largest news and information services provider in the English speaking world,” owner of FOX news and Dow Jones. Dow Jones is also the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

Of interest: Barron’s has a stock market index, the Barron’s 400 Index (B400), which includes 400 companies in the U.S. Companies they’d obviously like perform well. Hmmm…


Yahoo Finance

Type of Company: Media

Yahoo owns Verizon, and both Yahoo and Verizon are publicly traded on NASDAQ as YHOO and VZ, respectively.

Partnerships and connections: Yahoo Finance has a content distribution partnership with CNBC.


The Street 

Type of Company: Media

Owned by: The Arena Group, formerly Maven.

The Arena Group trades publicly on NASDAQ as AREN.

Partnerships and connections: —



Type of company: Media and Financial Technology

Owned by: Bloomberg L.P., 88% owned by Michael Bloomberg with a 12% investment by Merril Lynch.

Publicly traded: No. Bloomberg is privately held.

Partnerships and connections: —

Of interest: Because Bloomberg L.P. is private, it isn’t under financial regulators’ scrutiny, nor does it have to report financials to the public. The bulk of Bloomberg’s money is made through professional services, but its news subsidiary, Bloomberg News is worth mentioning. As a 24-hour news network, it runs more live programming than FOX or CNBC. Bloomberg television runs regional channels around the world. 


Motley Fool

Type of company: Media and Financial Technology

Owned by: Motley Fool, with two VC investors, BIA Digital Partners and Patriot Capital.

Motley Fool is privately held, not publicly traded.

Partnerships and connections: —

Of interest: They primarily make money by selling products, similar to how commission-based advisors make money at many big financial firms.

The Motley Fool’s partial funding from VCs means that they are beholden to them, rather than public investors. As they offer financial products, their bias may lean towards selling those products instead of providing DIY investing and market advice to their audience.



Type of company: Media 

Owned by: Dows Jones & Company, a property of News Corp.

MarketWatch trades publicly, and NASDAQ lists News Corp as NWSA.

Partnerships and connections: Along with the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, MarketWatch falls under the News Corp umbrella.

Of interest: In 2020, MarketWatch became a paywalled subscription-based publication. So, this particular arm of News Corp and the Murdoch empire makes money primarily through subscription fees, not ads. But its position in the Dow Jones family raises self-interest alarms in the financial news it chooses to report on.


The Takeaways

The big players in financial media are, you guessed it, media companies. 

Whether they’re using an advertising-based or subscription model, the success of your personal investments isn’t what’s making them money. Rather, what does make them money is content that’s enticing enough to get you to stay on their site or buy their content.  

If they’re selling products, their goal is to sell you products. It’s not to give you intel that enables you to DIY what they’re selling.

And damn, Rupert Murdoch might have more influence than any one person should be able to.

One person consolidating that much power highly likely leverages it for their own agenda and gains.

We’re not here to say that everything the financial media says is wrong. We’re saying that it’s hard to tell the good from the bad, and you shouldn’t be staking your financial future on it. These companies are trying to sell ad space, and they’re beholden to their stakeholders. Not you.

We certainly don’t rely on them. We go straight for the data which, coupled with our nearly 30 years of experience and ability to analyze economic information at a macro level, allows us to build actively managed, optimized portfolios.

Reach out to us at NEST. We’re a data-driven financial firm that serves Austin, the Hill Country, and Texas at large. Our passion is helping our clients reach their financial goals efficiently and optimally. So why not schedule a no-obligation call?  Dan, Gloria, and Sean are eager to help you build your financial nest. 


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DISCLAIMER: We are legally obligated to remind you that the information and opinions shared in this article are for educational purposes only and are not financial planning or investment advice. For guidance about your unique goals, drop us a line at info@nestfinancial.net.

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