Long Island, New York-based General Sentiment has issued a report for "media value" in Q4 2010, saying that the net loss was nearly $460 million. The company took the total number of news stories, social media mentions, and tweets about major companies over the course of the last quarter, rated each hit for its impact and value (positive, neutral, or negative) and calculated what it would cost to generate the equivalent buzz if a public relations firm was hired to do it.

According to the results, Apple was first, Google was second, Microsoft was third, Yahoo was fourth, and Ford was fifth. It's not too surprising that four out of the top five companies are the four big tech giants, or that they are significantly higher than all the other companies. In fact, if you add up the total media value for the top four companies and add up the value for the remaining 16, the former still wins.

It is a bit of a shocker, however, that compared to 2009, Apple and Google were down in 2010, while Microsoft and Yahoo were up in 2010. Microsoft has been building up quite a bit of buzz in the past few months, especially in the consumer space, but we can't say that we would have guessed the trend for the other three companies.