Media ownership: regulation and crisis

TitleMedia ownership: regulation and crisis
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Costa e Silva, E.
Affiliation (1st Author)Centre for Communication and Society Studies, University of Minho, Portugal
Section or WGPolitical Economy Section
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodePEW2a
Slot Code (Keyword)PEW2a
Time of Session11:00-12:30
Session TitleFinancial and Media Crisis
Submission ID6873

In a moment of economic crisis, news media have been particularly affected by the adverse context, namely in terms of advertising and subscription income. This situation may affect news media sector in terms of changes in products and services offered, but also in terms of the configuration of media groups and of the typology of ownership. Media groups, faced with increasing challenges put forward by the digital economy, suffered heavy losses in terms of advertising incomes, which have reached values between 15 to 20% in Portugal. Internal reorganizations of groups have also been one of the strategies adopted by enterprises to face economic crisis. This paper intends to provide an image of the variations in media ownership in the last years and analyze the role of Portuguese media regulator in this matter, providing an assessment of the performance of the regulatory council in what concerns declared changes of ownership by media enterprises. This paper will track changes in Portuguese media groups ownership in the period between 2006 and the end 2011, which corresponds to the first mandate of the Portuguese regulatory council (ERC). Data provided by online page of ERC regarding media ownership in this period is analyzed in terms of main changes and in terms of which subsectors were most affected (press, radio or television) by these changes. This paper also intends to look at ERC’s deliberations in terms of media ownership in order to assess the prevalence of economic arguments or the presence of a democratic rationale (namely by the need to safeguard pluralism) in ERC discourse concerning changes in ownership and media concentration. Data will also be analyzed in a longitudinal perspective to assess if the start of the economic crisis in 2008 had any visible influence in the pattern of changes of ownership declared to ERC and in its deliberation.

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