Definitions Concentration – when media company buys properties that have similar services. Concentration of ownership can lead to a company dominating a market and/or an audience i.e. Irving in NB, Transcontinental in Nfld Convergence or cross-ownership – the merging of previously distinct media platforms and services – print, radio, TV, cable, and Internet ((NJ p. 69 Vertical Integration- when one company owns both content and distribution. - TV or radio (programming) and cable, satellite, Internet, phone or wireless service (distribution).
Media mergers –Wave 1 2000-2006 2000 – 1. BCE> CTV & Globe and Mail; 2. Quebecor> Videotron, TVA & Sun newspaper chain; 3.CanWest> Hollinger newspapers & National Post (total +$14 billion) 2006 – BCE sells stake in CTV and new company Bell Globe> CHUM ($1.6 million)
Media Mergers – Wave 2 2007-2009 Rogers> City TV (from CTVglobemedia $375 m) Astral>Standard Radio ($1.08 billion) Quebecor> Osprey newspaper chain ($517 million) CanWest & Goldman Sachs>Alliance Atlantics (2.3 billion)
Media mergers Wave 3 2010-current Post Media> CanWest newspapers ($1.2B); Shaw>CanWest Global TV ($2B); Bell Canada>CTV ($3.2B) Latest Bell Canada> Astral Media ($3.38B) http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6612/125/
Why should you care? Commercial media corporations have major power over politics, public discourse, and culture.”(C. Edwin Baker, Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters, Introduction, 2006) Matters,
“The function of the pressin society is to inform, but its role is to make money.” (PD,55, Leibling, The Press,(New York:Ballentine Boos, 1964, 7)
Concentration & Convergence/Cross-ownership1) Restrict diversity of ownership2) Restrict diversity of viewpoints3) Restrict diversity of sources4) Restrict diversity of approaches to information
Media ownership rulesBroadcasting: a non-Canadian can own up to 46.7 per cent of a Canadian broadcasterPrint: non-Canadian ownership is limited to 25 per cent because Section 19 of the Income Tax Act requires 75 per cent Canadian ownership to offer tax deductions to advertisers.
Competition Act (1985)Governs all business mergers including newspapers and telecommunications Considers financial or economic aspects of mergers and their effect on competitive markets not public interestThe problem? The act ‘misses a critical dimension of news and information, namely, the importance of the plurality of owners and the diversity of voices, not just in a given community but in the wider regional and national landscape’ (Senate, 2006:17).
The Broadcasting Act (1991)…declares that ‘programming should serve tosafeguard, enrich and strengthen thecultural, political, social and economic fabricof Canada’ through a wide range ofprogramming ‘that reflects Canadianattitudes, opinions, ideas values and artisticcreativity’.
Studies into media concentrationBritain - Royal Commission on the Press, 1947United States - Hutchins Commission on Press Freedom, 1947 “Theory of Social Responsibility” “Full access to the day’s intelligence.”
Canadian media studies First media study….Special Senate Committee on Mass Media 1969 known as the Davey Committee “A successful paper prepares its audience for change.”Recommends:Press Ownership Review Boardto screen future newspaper mergersWhy? Increased concentration of ownership is undesirable and contrary to public interest.
Second media study:Royal Commission on Newspapers 1980- known as the Kent CommissionRecommended: 1. New Canada Newspaper Act 2. Limit media companies to five newspapers and only one newspaper in each geographical market 3. Adopt a policy to prevent new mergers of print and broadcast outlets in a single market Why? Without government regulations “company will take over company until all Canadian newspapers are divisions of one or two great conglomerates.” (Royal Commission, 1981:220).
Other studies… Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration (1978) Federal Task Force on Broadcasting Policy, Caplan- Sauvageau (1986) House of Commons Heritage Committee, “Our Cultural Sovereignty” - a study of the Canadian broadcasting system (2003) Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, Interim Report on the Canadian News Media (2004) and Final Report (2006) House of Commons Heritage Committee Impacts of Private Television Ownership (2011)
Source: International Media Concentration Research Projects with updates for 2011-12 for Canada by Dwayne Winswck
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - CBC public broadcaster ‘In a world of media concentrationand cross-media ownership, theimportance of the CBC as analternate source of news andinformation programming is greaterthan ever’(Senate, 2006:33-39).
A brave new world… Microfunding and micropayments/Paywalls (Globe Plus, AllNovaScotia, Brunswick News Trusts, family ownership (Toronto Star, L’Acadie Nouvelle, The Guardian) Sponsorships & Philanthropy (Tyee.ca, ProPublica) Not for profit (Halifax media coop, rabble.ca, tyee.ca) Collaboration (Huffington Post, OhMyNews) Hyperlocal websites, newspapers, blogging Mobile subscriptions Government subsidies tax breaks
Final thought… ‘No real democracy can function without a healthy, diverse and independent news media to inform people about the way their societyworks, what is going well and perhaps most important, what is not going well or needs to be improved’(Senate, 2004:1).