10. The Wall Street Journal
> Customers: 2.1 million
> Industry: newspapers
> Parent company: News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS)
> Major competitors: USA Today, New York Times
There are only three major national newspapers: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today. The country’s other papers, for the most part, are local. The Wall Street Journal leads the pack, with a daily circulation of approximately 2.1 million for the six months ending September 30, 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The second most popular paper, USA Today, has a circulation of nearly 1.8 million. The newspaper industry as a whole has taken a huge hit since the rise of online journalism. The Wall Street Journal, however, has been one of the few online publications that has been successful in transferring its business to the Internet.
9. Charles Schwab
> Customers: 8.6 million
> Industry: discount brokerage
> Parent company: Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW)
> Major competitors: E*Trade (NASDAQ: ETFC), TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD)
As is the case with many industries that have transitioned to the Internet, investing has become increasingly accessible as a result. Discount brokerages did not exist before the 1970s. The Internet allowed discount brokerages to charge investors even less. Charles Schwab has drawn the most customers through this model, and it has 8.6 million active brokerage accounts as of the first quarter of 2012. Because market growth is relatively flat for the discount brokerage market, price, product and service are most important for companies trying to gain market share. Schwab does well on all fronts, including offering a flat $8.95 commission per online trade.
> Customers: 37.9 million
> Industry: landline telephones
> Parent company: AT&T Corp.
> Major competitors: Verizon (NYSE: VZ)
It was not until 1977 that the first cellular network was built in the United States, and mobile phones did not become widely used until the 1990s. Before that, there was nothing but landlines. The landline market is led by AT&T, which currently provides about 37.9 million connections. Verizon, which has the second-largest market share, provides 23.7 million connections. The landline telephone business is now shrinking due to the rise of cable VoIP and wireless handsets. More than three out of every 10 American households now only have wireless telephones.
Since its launch, the Wii has sold more units than either of the two competing next-gen systems, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3, according to research firm NPD. Although sales for Nintendo’s popular device have recently declined, it has still sold 39.4 million devices in the U.S. since its launch, compared to the 360’s 33.8 million. The PS3 is a distant third, at 21 million. Initially labeled as a failure, the Wii caught on as a device accessible to non-hardcore video gamers. Families saw it as a product their kids could enjoy, and extra hardware like the Wii fit has helped with the console’s longevity.
For such a massive national industry, the cable industry is arguably the most localized in the country. Most of the country’s cable companies have carved out niches, making them the largest provider, or only provider, in a particular region. In New York City, Time Warner has a basic monopoly on coverage. However, nationwide, Comcast has the most customers, with 49.8 million customers as of the end of 2011. Time Warner has slightly more than half of that, at 12.4 million subscribers. Comcast has attempted to move into vertical integration, most notably with the purchase of NBC studios early in 2011.