Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media. Contemporary research demonstrates increasing levels of consolidation, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.
Globally, large media conglomerates include Bertelsmann, National Amusements (Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation), Sony Corporation, News Corp, Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T Inc., Fox Corporation, Hearst Communications, MGM Holdings Inc., Grupo Globo (South America) and Lagardère Group.
As of 2018, the largest media conglomerates in terms of revenue rank Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, CBS Corporation and Viacom per Forbes.
In nations described as authoritarian by most international think-tanks and NGOs, media ownership is generally something very close to the complete state control over information in direct or indirect ways.
Media mergers are a result of one media related company buying another company for control of their resources in order to increase revenues and viewership. As information and entertainment become a major part of our culture, media companies have been creating ways to become more efficient in reaching viewers and turning a profit. Successful media companies usually buy out other companies to make them more powerful, profitable, and able to reach a larger viewing audience. Media mergers have become more prevalent in recent years, which has people wondering about the negative effects that could be caused by media ownership becoming more concentrated. Such negative effects that could come into play are lack of competition and diversity as well as biased political views.
An oligopoly is when a few firms dominate a market. When the larger scale media companies buy out the more smaller-scaled or local companies they become more powerful within the market. As they continue to eliminate their business competition through buyouts or forcing them out (because they lack the resources or finances) the companies left dominate the media industry and create a media oligopoly.
Media integrity is at risk when small number of companies and individuals control the media market. Media integrity refers to the ability of a media outlet to serve the public interest and democratic process, making it resilient to institutional corruption within the media system, economy of influence, conflicting dependence and political clientelism. Media integrity is especially endangered in the case when there are clientelist relations between the owners of the media and political centres of power. Such a situation enables excessive instrumentalisation of the media for particular political interests, which is subversive for the democratic role of the media.
Net neutrality is also at stake when media mergers occur. Net neutrality involves a lack of restrictions on content on the internet, however, with big businesses supporting campaigns financially they tend to have influence over political issues, which can translate into their mediums. These big businesses that also have control over internet usage or the airwaves could possibly make the content available biased from their political stand point or they could restrict usage for conflicting political views, therefore eliminating net neutrality.
Concentration of media ownership is very frequently seen as a problem of contemporary media and society. When media ownership is concentrated in one or more of the ways mentioned above, a number of undesirable consequences follow, including the following:
It is important to elaborate upon the issue of media consolidation and its effect upon the diversity of information reaching a particular market. Critics of consolidation raise the issue of whether monopolistic or oligopolistic control of a local media market can be fully accountable and dependable in serving the public interest.
On the local end, reporters have often seen their stories refused or edited beyond recognition. An example would be the repeated refusal of networks to air "ads" from anti-war advocates to liberal groups like MoveOn.org, or religious groups like the United Church of Christ, regardless of factual basis. Journalists and their reports may be directly sponsored by parties who are the subject of their journalism leading to reports which actually favor the sponsor, have that appearance, or are simply a repetition of the sponsors' opinion.
Consequently, if the companies dominating a media market choose to suppress stories that do not serve their interests, the public suffers, since they are not adequately informed of some crucial issues that may affect them.
Concern among academia rests in the notion that the purpose of the First Amendment to the US constitution was to encourage a free press as political agitator evidenced by the famous quote from US President Thomas Jefferson, "The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." Freedom of the press has long been combated by large media companies, but their objections have just as long been dismissed by the supreme courts.
Recently, new age critical scholarship has emerged that has investigated policymaking critical junctures in the communicative history in northern America. As a result, the media reform movement has flourished. The five core truths have emanated from this movement that analyze and directs progressive forces in this critical juncture.
One explanation for the cause of the concentration of media ownership is a shift to neo-conservative deregulation policies, which is a market-driven approach. Deregulation effectively removes governmental barriers to allow for the commercial exploitation of media. Motivation for media firms to merge includes increased profit-margins, reduced risk and maintaining a competitive edge. In contrast to this, those who support deregulation have argued that cultural trade barriers and regulations harm consumers and domestic support in the form of subsidies hinders countries to develop their own strong media firms. The opening of borders is more beneficial to countries than maintaining protectionist regulations.
Critics of media deregulation and the resulting concentration of ownership fear that such trends will only continue to reduce the diversity of information provided, as well as to reduce the accountability of information providers to the public. The ultimate consequence of consolidation, critics argue, is a poorly informed public, restricted to a reduced array of media options that offer only information that does not harm the media oligopoly's growing range of interests.
For those critics, media deregulation is a dangerous trend, facilitating an increase in concentration of media ownership, and subsequently reducing the overall quality and diversity of information communicated through major media channels. Increased concentration of media ownership can lead to corporate censorship affecting a wide range of critical thought.
Another concern is that consolidated media is not flexible enough to serve local communities in case of emergency. Some say that the Minot train derailment was exacerbated by consolidation of media, but an EOU study cited by Radioworld notes that even though Minot's media was under the same ownership, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) – which is completely automated – should have been activated by emergency management officials (media personnel are not necessary for EAS activation) but was not. So it is shown that consolidated media did not play a significant role in this incident.
A 2012 Gallup poll found that Americans' distrust in the mass media had hit a new high, with 60% saying they had little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust has steadily increased since 2004, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior.
A recent study has concluded that group participation contributes to the public perceptions of the legitimacy or credibility of mass media. Accordingly, high involvement in media incites more scrutiny and more biased scrutiny of media content.
The concentration of media ownership is commonly regarded as one of the crucial aspects reducing media pluralism. A high concentration of the media market increases the chances to reduce the plurality of political, cultural and social points of views. Even if ownership of the media is one of the main concerns when it comes to assessing media pluralism, the concept of media pluralism is broader as it touches many aspects, from merger control rules to editorial freedom, the status of public service broadcasters, the working conditions of journalists, the relationship between media and politics, representation of local and regional communities and the inclusion of minorities' voices. Also, it embraces all measures guaranteeing citizens' access to diversified sources so to allow the formation of a plurality of opinions in the public sphere without undue influence of dominant powers.
Furthermore, media pluralism has a two-fold dimension, or rather internal and external. Internal pluralism concerns pluralism within a specific media organisation: in this regard, many countries request public broadcast services to account for a variety of views and opinions, including those of minority groups. External pluralism applies instead to the overall media landscape, for instance in terms of the number of media outlets operating in a given country.
Media ownership can pose serious challenges to pluralism when owners interfere with journalists' independence and editorial line. However, in a free market economy, owners must have the capacity to decide the strategy of their company to remain competitive in the market. Also, pluralism does not mean neutrality and lack of opinion, as having an editorial line is an integral part of the role of editors provided that this line is transparent and explicit to both the staff and audience.
"Within any free market economy, the level of resources available for the provision of media will be constrained principally by the size and wealth of that economy, and the propensity of its inhabitants to consume media." [Gillian Doyle; 2002:15] Those countries that have a relatively large market, like the United Kingdom, France or Spain have more financial background to support diversity of output and have the ability to keep more media companies in the market (as they are there to make profit). More diverse output and fragmented ownership will, obviously, support pluralism. In contrast, small markets like Ireland or Hungary suffer from the absence of the diversity of output given in countries with bigger markets. It means that "support for the media through direct payment" and "levels of consumers expenditure", furthermore "the availability of advertising support" [Gillian Doyle; 2002:15] are less in these countries, due to the low number of audience. Overall, the size and wealth of the market determine the diversity of both media output and media ownership.
From the previous paragraph it can be assumed that size/wealth of the market have a very strong relation to the diversity of supplier. If the first is not given (wealthy market) then it is difficult to achieve a fragmented supplier system. Diversity of suppliers refers to those heterogeneous independent organizations that are involved in media production and to the common ownership as well. The more various suppliers there are, the better for pluralism is. However, "the more powerful individual suppliers become, the greater the potential threat to pluralism".
The consolidation of cost functions and cost-sharing. Cost-sharing is a common practice in monomedia and cross media. For example, "for multi-product television or radio broadcasters, the more homogeneity possible between different services held in common ownership (or the more elements within a programme schedule which can be shared between 'different' stations), the greater the opportunity to reap economies". Though the main concern of pluralism is that different organization under different ownership may buy the same e.g. news stories from the same news-supplier agency. In the UK, the biggest news-supplier is The Press Association (PA). Here is a quoted text from PA web site: "The Press Association supplies services to every national and regional daily newspaper, major broadcasters, online publishers and a wide range of commercial organisations." Overall, in a system where all different media organizations gather their stories from the same source, we can't really call that system pluralist. That is where diversity of output comes in.
Media privatization and the lessening of state dominance over media content has continued since 2012. In the Arab region, the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) counted 1,230 television stations broadcasting via Arab and international satellites, of which 133 were state-owned and 1,097 private. According to the ASBU Report, these numbers serve as evidence of a decline in the percentage of state channels and a rise in national private and foreign public stations targeting the Arab region. The reduction of direct government ownership over the whole media sector is commonly registered as a positive trend, but this has paralleled by a growth in outlets with a sectarian agenda.
In Africa, some private media outlets have maintained close ties to governments or individual politicians, while media houses owned by politically non-aligned individuals have struggled to survive, often in the face of advertising boycotts by state agencies. In almost all regions, models of public service broadcasting have been struggling for funding. In Western, Central and Eastern Europe, funds directed to public service broadcasting have been stagnating or declining since 2012.
New types of cross-ownership have emerged in the past five years that have spurred new questions about where to draw the line between media and other industries. A notable case has been the acquisition of the Washington Post by the founder of online retailer Amazon. While the move initially raised concerns about the newspaper's independence, the newspaper has significantly increased its standing in the online media—and print—and introduced significant innovations.
The community-centred media ownership model continues to survive in some areas, especially in isolated, rural or disadvantaged areas, and mostly pertaining to radio. Through this model, not-for-profit media outlets are run and managed by the communities they serve.
Controls over media ownership in Australia are laid down in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Even with laws in place Australia has a high concentration of media ownership. Ownership of national and the newspapers of each capital city are dominated by two corporations, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, (which was founded in Adelaide) and John Fairfax Holdings. These two corporations along with West Australian Newspapers and the Harris Group work together to create Australian Associated Press which distributes the news and then sells it on to other outlets such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Although much of the everyday mainstream news is drawn from the Australian Associated Press, all the privately owned media outlets still compete with each other for exclusive pop culture news. Rural and regional media is dominated by Rural Press Limited which is owned also by John Fairfax Holdings, with significant holdings in all states and territories. Daily Mail and General Trust operate the DMG Radio Australia commercial radio networks in metropolitan and regional areas of Australia. Formed in 1996, it has since become one of the largest radio media companies in the country. The company currently own more than 60 radio stations across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
There are rules governing foreign ownership of Australian media and these rules were loosened by the former Howard Government.
According to Reporters Without Borders in 2004, Australia is in 41st position on a list of countries ranked by Press Freedom; well behind New Zealand (9th) and United Kingdom (28th). This ranking is primarily due to the limited diversity in media ownership. By 2013, Australia had risen to 26th on the Press Freedom Index.
Media Watch is an independent media watchdog televised on the public broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which is one of two government-administered channels, the other being Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).
Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) formerly published the Wellington-based newspapers The Dominion and The Evening Post, in addition to purchasing a large shareholding in pay TV broadcaster Sky Media Limited in 1997. These two newspapers merged to form the Dominion Post in 2002, and in 2003, sold its entire print media division to Fairfax New Zealand. The remainder of the company officially merged with Sky Media Limited in 2005 to form Sky Network Television Limited.
When INL ceased publishing the Auckland Star in 1991, The New Zealand Herald became the Auckland region's sole daily newspaper. The New Zealand Herald and the New Zealand Listener, formerly privately held by the Wilson & Horton families, was sold to APN News & Media in 1996. The long-running news syndication agency NZPA announced that it would close down in 2011, with operations to be taken over by 3 separate agencies, APN's APNZ, Fairfax's FNZN and AAP's NZN, all owned by Australian parent companies. In 2014, APN's New Zealand division officially changed its name to NZME, in order to reflect the company's convergence with its radio division The Radio Network. As of early 2015, Fairfax New Zealand and NZME have a near duopoly on newspapers and magazines in New Zealand. In May 2016, NZME and Fairfax NZ announced merger talks, pending Commerce Commission approval.
Commercial radio stations are largely divided up between MediaWorks New Zealand and NZME, with MediaWorks also owning TV3 and C4 (now The Edge TV). Television New Zealand, although 100% state-owned, has been run on an almost entirely commercial basis since the late 1980s, in spite of previous attempts to steer it towards a more public service-oriented role. Its primary public-service outlet, TVNZ7, ceased broadcasting in 2012 due to non-renewal of funding, and the youth-oriented TVNZ6 was rebranded as the short-lived commercial channel TVNZ U. In addition, the TVNZ channels Kidzone (and formerly TVNZ Heartland) are only available through Sky Network Television and not on the Freeview platform.
Sky Network Television has had an effective monopoly on pay TV in New Zealand since its nearest rival Saturn Communications (later part of TelstraClear and now Vodafone New Zealand) began wholesaling Sky content in 2002. However, in 2011, TelstraClear CEO Allan Freeth warned it would review its wholesale agreement with Sky unless it allowed TelstraClear to purchase non-Sky content.
Canada has the biggest concentrated TV ownership out of all the G8 countries and it comes in second place for the most concentrated television viewers.
Broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an independent governing agency that aims to serve the needs and interests of citizens, industries, interest groups and the government. The CRTC does not regulate newspapers or magazines.
Apart from a relatively small number of community broadcasters, media in Canada are primarily owned by a small number of groups, including Bell Canada, the Shaw family (via Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications), Rogers Communications, Quebecor, and the government-owned CBC/Radio-Canada. Each of these companies holds a diverse mix of television, specialty television, and radio operations. Bell, Rogers, Shaw, and Quebecor also engage in the telecommunications industry with their ownership of internet providers, television providers, and mobile carriers, while Rogers is also involved in publishing.
In 2007, CTVglobemedia, Rogers Media and Quebecor all expanded significantly through the acquisitions of CHUM Limited, CityTV and Osprey Media, respectively. In 2010, Canwest Global Communications, having filed for bankruptcy, sold its television assets to Shaw (through a new subsidiary, Shaw Media) and spun off its newspaper holdings into Postmedia Network, a new company founded by the National Post's CEO Paul Godfrey. Later that year, Bell also announced that it would acquire the remaining shares of CTVglobemedia (which was originally majority owned by Bell when it was formed in 2001; Bell had reduced its stake in the following years), forming Bell Media.
Between 1990 and 2005 there were a number of media corporate mergers and takeovers in Canada. For example, in 1990, 17.3% of daily newspapers were independently owned; whereas in 2005, 1% were. These changes, among others, caused the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications to launch a study of Canadian news media in March 2003. (This topic had been examined twice in the past, by the Davey Commission (1970) and the Kent Commission (1981), both of which produced recommendations that were never implemented in any meaningful way.)
The Senate Committee's final report, released in June 2006, expressed concern about the effects of the current levels of news media ownership in Canada. Specifically, the committee discussed their concerns regarding the following trends: the potential of media ownership concentration to limit news diversity and reduce news quality; the CRTC and Competition Bureau's ineffectiveness at stopping media ownership concentration; the lack of federal funding for the CBC and the broadcaster's uncertain mandate and role; diminishing employment standards for journalists (including less job security, less journalistic freedom, and new contractual threats to intellectual property); a lack of Canadian training and research institutes; and difficulties with the federal government's support for print media and the absence of funding for the internet-based news media.
The Senate report expressed particular concern about the concentration of ownership in the province of New Brunswick, where the Irving business empire owns all the English-language daily newspapers and most of the weeklies. Senator Joan Fraser, author of the report, stated, "We didn't find anywhere else in the developed world a situation like the situation in New Brunswick."
The report provided 40 recommendations and 10 suggestions (for areas outside of federal government jurisdiction), including legislation amendments that would trigger automatic reviews of a proposed media merger if certain thresholds are reached, and CRTC regulation revisions to ensure that access to the broadcasting system is encouraged and that a diversity of news and information programming is available through these services.
In Brazil, the concentration of media ownership seems to have manifested itself very early. Dr. Venício A. de Lima noted in 2003:
It must be noted that in Brazil there is an environment very conducive to concentration. Sectorial legislation has been timid, by express intention of the legislator, by failing to include direct provisions that limit or control the concentration of ownership, which, incidentally, goes in the opposite direction of what happens in countries like France, Italy and the United Kingdom, which are concerned with the plurality and diversity in the new scenario of technological convergence.
Lima points to other factors that would make media concentration easier, particularly in broadcasting: the failure of legal norms that limit the equity interest of the same economic group in various broadcasting organizations; a short period (five years) for resell broadcasting concessions, facilitating the concentration by the big media groups through the purchase of independent stations, and no restrictions to the formation of national broadcasting networks. He cites examples of horizontal, vertical, crossed and "in cross" concentration (a Brazilian peculiarity).
The UNESCO office in Brasília has expressed its concern over the existence of an outdated code of telecommunications (1962), which no longer meets the expectations generated by the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 in the political and social fields, and the inability of the Brazilian government to establish an independent regulatory agency to manage the media. Attempts in this direction have been pointed by the mainstream media as attacks on freedom of expression, the trend of the political left in the entire Latin American continent.
Since the 1980, a significant debate has developed at the European level concerning the regulation of media ownership and the principles to be adopted to regulate media ownership concentration. Both the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU) have tried to formulate a distinctive and comprehensive media policy, including on the issue of concentration. However, the emphasis of both the organisations was more on strengthening media diversity and pluralism than on limiting concentration, even though they have often expressed the need for common European media concentration regulations. However, the European Union enforces a common regulation for environmental protection, consumer protection and human rights, but it has none for media pluralism.
Although there is no specific media concentration legislation at the European level, a number of existing legal instruments such as the Amsterdam Protocol, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and actions programs contribute directly and indirectly to curbing media concentration at EU level.
When it comes to regulating media concentration at the common European level, there is a conflict between Member states and the European Commission (EC). Even if Member states do not publicly challenge the need for common regulation on media concentration, they push to incorporate their own regulatory approach at the EU level and are reluctant to give the European Union their regulatory power on the issue of media concentration.
The Council of Europe's initiative promoting media pluralism and curbing media concentration dates back to the mid-1970s. Several resolutions, recommendations, declarations by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and studies by experts' groups have addressed the issue since then. The Council's approach has been mainly addressed at defining and protecting media pluralism, defined in terms of pluralism of media content in order to allow a plurality of ideas and opinions.
Within the European Union, two main standpoints have emerged in the debate: on the one hand, the European Parliament has favoured the idea that, considering the crucial role that media play in the functioning of democratic systems, policies in this field should prevent excessive concentration in order to guarantee pluralism and diversity. On the other hand, the European Commission has privileged the understanding that the media sector should be regulated, as any other economic field, following the principles of market harmonization and liberalization.
Indeed, media concentration issues can be addressed both by general competition policies and by specific media sector rules. According to some scholars, given the vital importance of contemporary media, sector-specific competition rules in the media industries should be enhanced. Within the EU, the Council regulation 4064/89/EEC on the control of concentrations between undertakings as part of European competition legislation covered also media concentration cases. The need for sector-specific regulation has been widely supported by both media scholars and the European Parliament. In the 1980s, when preparing legislation on cross-border television many experts and MEPs argued for including provisions for media concentration in the EU directive but these efforts failed. In 1992, the Commission of the European Communities published a policy document named "Pluralism and Media Concentration in the internal Market – an assessment of the need for Community action" which outlined three options on the issue of media concentration regulation at the Community level, i.e. no specific action to be taken; action regulating transparency; and action to harmonize laws. Out of these options, the first one was chosen but the debate on this decision lasted for years. Council regulation as a tool for regulating media concentration was excluded and the two proposals on a media concentration directive advanced in the mid 1990s were not backed by the Commission. As a consequence, efforts at legislating media concentration at Community level were phased out by the end of the 1990s.
Despite a wide consensus over the idea that the vital importance of contemporary media justifies to regulate media concentration through sector-specific concentration rules going beyond the general competition policy, the need for sector specific regulation has been challenged in recent years due to the peculiar evolution of the media industry in the digital environment and media convergence. In practice, sector-specific media concentration rules have been abolished in some European countries in recent years.
As a consequence, scholars Harcourt and Picard argue that "the trend has been to remove ownership rules and restrictions on media ownership within Europe in order that 'domestic champions' can bulk up to 'fend off' the US threat. This has been a key argument for the loosening of ownership rules within Europe."
In 2002, the European Parliament tried to revitalize the efforts on regulating media concentration at the European level and adopted a resolution on media concentration which called on the European Commission to launch a broad and comprehensive consultation on media pluralism and media concentration and to prepare a Green Paper on the issue by the end of 2003. The European Commission failed to meet this deadline. In the following years, during the process of amending the Televisions Without Frontiers directive, which was adopted by the EP and the Council in 2007, the issue of media concentration was discussed, but it did not represented the core of the debate. In 2003, the European Commission issued a policy document named "The future of European Regulatory Audiovisual Policy" which stressed that, in order to ensure media pluralism, measures should aim at limiting the level of media concentration by establishing "maximum holdings in media companies and prevent[ing] cumulative control or participation in several media companies at the same time".
In 2007, reacting to concerns on media concentration and its repercussion on pluralism and freedom of expression in the EU member states raised by the European Parliament and by NGOs, the European Commission launched a new three-phase plan on media pluralism
In October 2009, a European Union Directive was proposed to set for all member states common and higher standards for media pluralism and freedom of expression. The proposal was put to a vote in the European Parliament and rejected by just three votes. The directive was supported by the liberal-centrists, the progressives and the greens, and was opposed by the European People's Party. Unexpectedly, the Irish liberals made an exception by voting against the directive, and later revealed that they had been pressured by the Irish right-wing government to do so.
Following this debate, the European Commission commissioned a large, in depth study published in 2009 aiming to identify the indicators to be adopted to assess media pluralism in Europe.
The "Independent Study on Indicators for Media Pluralism in the Member States – Towards a Risk-Based Approach" provided a prototype of indicators and country reports for 27 EU member states. After years of refining and preliminary testings, the study resulted in the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM), a yearly monitoring carried out by the Centre for media pluralism and freedom at the European University Institute in Florence on a variety of aspects affecting media pluralism, including also the concentration of media ownership is considered. To assess the risk that media ownership concentration in a given country may actually hinder media pluralism, the MPM takes into account three specific elements:
In 2015, the MPM was carried out in 19 European countries. The results of the monitoring activity in the field of media market concentration identify five countries as facing a high risk: Finland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Poland and Spain. There are nine countries facing a medium risk: Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden. Finally, only five countries face a low risk: Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia. In the monitoring carried out in 2014, 7 of 9 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, the UK) scored a high risk in audience concentration.
A 2016 report based on data collected by MAVISE, a free online database on audiovisual services and companies in Europe, highlights the growing number of Pan-European media companies in the field of broadcasting and divides them into different categories: multi‐country media groups, controlling “channels that play an important role in various national markets (for example Modern Times Group, CEME, RTL, a Luxembourg-based media group operating in 10 countries, and Sanoma). These groups generally control a high market share in the countries in which they operate, and have gradually emerged through the acquisition of existing channels or by establishing new companies in countries in which they were not already present. The four groups RTL Group, CEME, Modern Times Group and Sanoma are major players (in the top 4 regarding audience share) in 19 European countries (RTL Group, CEME and Modern Times Group are major players in 17 countries). Pan‐European broadcasters operate with a unique identity and well recognized brands across Europe. Most of them are based in the United States and have progressively expanded their activities in the European market. In many cases, these groups evolved from being content creators to also deliver such contents through channels renamed after the original brands.
Examples of such pan-European groups include Discovery, Viacom, WarnerMedia, and The Walt Disney Company, pan‐European distribution groups (cable and satellite operators), companies that operate at the European level in the distribution sector via cable, satellite or IPTV. The emergence of major actors operating in this field has been made possible mainly thanks to the process of digitalization and benefit of specific economies of scale.
In the Czech Republic about 80% of the newspapers and magazines were owned by German and Swiss corporations in 2007, as the two main press groups Vltava Labe Media and Mafra were (completely or partly) controlled by the German group Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlagsgesellschaft (Mediengruppe Rheinische Post), but were both later purchased by Czech-owned conglomerates Penta Investments and Agrofert in 2015 and 2013 respectively. Several major media previously owned by Swiss company Ringier became Czech-owned through their acquisition by the Czech News Center in 2013.
The weekly Respekt is published by R-Presse, the majority of whose shares are owned by former Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg. The national television market is dominated by four terrestrial stations, two public (Czech TV1 and Czech TV2) and two private (NOVA TV and Prima TV), which draw 95% of audience share. Concerning the diversity of output, this is limited by a series of factors: the average low level of professional education among Czech journalists is compensated by "informal professionalization", leading to a degree of conformity in approaches; political parties hold strong ties in Czech media, especially print, where more than 50% of Czech journalists identify with the Right, while only 16% express sympathy for the Left; and the process of commercialization and "tabloidization" has increased, lowering differentiation of content in Czech print media.
Axel Springer AG is one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, claiming to have over 150 newspapers and magazines in over 30 countries in Europe. In the 1960s and 1970s the company's media followed an aggressive conservative policy (see Springerpresse). It publishes Germany's only nationwide tabloid, Bild, and one of Germany's most important broadsheets, Die Welt. Axel Springer also owns a number of regional newspapers, especially in Saxony and in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, giving the company a de facto monopoly in the latter case. An attempt to buy one of Germany's two major private TV Groups, ProSiebenSat.1, in 2006, was withdrawn due to large concerns by regulation authorities as well as by parts of the public. The company is also active in Hungary, where it is the biggest publisher of regional newspapers, and in Poland, where it owns the best-selling tabloid Fakt, one of the nation's most important broadsheets, Dziennik, and is one of the biggest shareholder in the second-ranked private TV company, Polsat.
Bertelsmann is one of the world's largest media companies. It owns RTL Group, which is one of the two major private TV companies in both Germany and the Netherlands and also owning assets in Belgium, France, UK, Spain, Czech and Hungary. Bertelsmann also owns Gruner + Jahr, Germany's biggest popular magazine publisher, including popular news magazine Stern and a 26% share in investigative news magazine Der Spiegel. Bertelsmann also owns Random House, a book publisher, ranked first in the English-speaking world and second in Germany.
In Ireland, the company Independent News & Media owns many national newspapers: the Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and Irish Daily Star. It also owns 29.9% of the Sunday Tribune. Broadcast media is divided between state owned RTÉ, which operates several radio stations and television channels and started digital radio and television services in the early 2010s, TG4, an Irish language broadcaster, and TV3, a commercial television operator. Denis O'Brien an Irish billionaire with a fortune partly accumulated through the Esat Digifone licence controversy, formed Communicorp Group Ltd in 1989, with the company currently owning 42 radio stations in 8 European countries, including Ireland's Newstalk, Today FM, Dublin's 98FM, SPIN 1038 and SPIN South West. In January 2006, O'Brien took a stake in Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media (IN&M). As of May 2012, he holds a 29.9% stake in the company, making him the largest shareholder; the O'Reilly family's stake is around 13%.
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, is the major shareholder of – by far – Italy's biggest (and de facto only) private free TV company, Mediaset; Italy's biggest publisher, Mondadori; and Italy's biggest advertising company, Publitalia. One of Italy's nationwide dailies, Il Giornale, is owned by his brother, Paolo Berlusconi, and another, Il Foglio, by his former wife, Veronica Lario. Berlusconi has often been criticized for using the media assets he owns to advance his political career.
In Britain and Ireland, Rupert Murdoch owns best-selling tabloid The Sun as well as the broadsheet The Times and Sunday Times, and 39% of satellite broadcasting network BSkyB. In March 2011, the United Kingdom provisionally approved Murdoch to buy the remaining 61% of BSkyB; however, subsequent events (News of the World hacking scandal and its closure in July 2011) leading to the Leveson Inquiry have halted this takeover.
Trinity Mirror own five major national titles, the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The Sunday People, and the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record as well as over 100 regional newspapers. They claim to have a monthly digital reach of 73 million people.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) own the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, Ireland on Sunday, and free London daily Metro, and control a large proportion of regional media, including through subsidiary Northcliffe Media, in addition to large shares in ITN and GCap Media.
The Guardian is owned by Guardian Media Group.
In India a few political parties also own media organizations, for example Kalaignar TV is owned by Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Sakshi TV a Telugu channel in Andhra Pradesh is owned by ex-chief minister's son and family.
In Israel, Arnon Mozes owns the most widespread Hebrew newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, the most widespread Russian newspaper Vesty, the most popular Hebrew news website Ynet, and 17% of the cable TV firm HOT. Moreover, Mozes owns the Reshet TV firm, which is one of the two operators of the most popular channel in Israel, Channel 2.
In Mexico there are only two national broadcast television service companies, Televisa and Azteca. These two broadcasters together administer 434 of the 461 total commercial television stations in the country (94.14%).
Though concern about the existence of a duopoly had been around for some time, a press uproar sparked in 2006, when a controversial reform to the Federal Radio and Television Law, seriously hampered the entry of new competitors, like Cadena Tres.
Televisa also owns subscription TV enterprises Cablevision (Mexico) and SKY, a publishing company Editorial Televisa, and the Televisa Radio broadcast radio network, creating a de facto media monopoly in many regions of the country.
In the United States, movie production has been dominated by major studios since the early 20th century; before that, there was a period in which Edison's Trust monopolized the industry. The music and television industries recently witnessed cases of media consolidation, with Sony Music Entertainment's parent company merging their music division with Bertelsmann AG's BMG to form Sony BMG and Tribune's The WB and CBS Corp.'s UPN merging to form The CW. In the case of Sony BMG, there existed a "Big Five" (now "Big Four") of major record companies, while The CW's creation was an attempt to consolidate ratings and stand up to the "Big Four" of American network (terrestrial) television (this despite the fact that the CW was, in fact, partially owned by one of the Big Four in CBS). In television, the vast majority of broadcast and basic cable networks, over a hundred in all, are controlled by eight corporations: Fox Corporation, The Walt Disney Company (which includes the ABC, ESPN, FX and Disney brands), National Amusements (which includes CBS Corporation and Viacom), Comcast (which includes the NBC brands), AT&T (which owns WarnerMedia), Discovery Communications, E. W. Scripps Company, Cablevision (now known as Altice USA), or some combination thereof.
There may also be some large-scale owners in an industry that are not the causes of monopoly or oligopoly. iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications), especially since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, acquired many radio stations across the United States, and came to own more than 1,200 stations. However, the radio broadcasting industry in the United States and elsewhere can be regarded as oligopolistic regardless of the existence of such a player. Because radio stations are local in reach, each licensing a specific part of spectrum from the FCC in a specific local area, any local market is served by a limited number of stations. In most countries, this system of licensing makes many markets local oligopolies. The similar market structure exists for television broadcasting, cable systems and newspaper industries, all of which are characterized by the existence of large-scale owners. Concentration of ownership is often found in these industries.
In the United States, data on ownership and market share of media companies is not held in the public domain.
Organizations like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have accused the Military-industrial-media complex of using their media resources to promote militarism, which, according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's hypothesis, benefits the defense resources of the company. As FAIR observed, "when correspondents and paid consultants on NBC television praised the performance of U.S. weapons, they were extolling equipment made by GE, the corporation that pays their salaries."
Over time the amount of media merging has increased and the number of media outlets has increased. As a result, fewer companies now own more media outlets, increasing the concentration of ownership. In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by 50 companies; as of 2011, 90% was controlled by just 6 companies and in 2017 the number was 5.
|Company||Media Outlets||Revenues (2017)|
|Comcast||Holdings include: NBCUniversal, NBC and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, 26 television stations in the United States and cable networks USA Network, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Syfy, NBCSN, Golf Channel, E!, and NBC Sports Regional Networks. Comcast also owns the Philadelphia Flyers through a separate subsidiary.||US$84.5 billion|
|The Walt Disney Company||Holdings include: ABC Television Network, cable networks ESPN, the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FX Movie Channel, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, History, A&E and Lifetime, approximately 30 radio stations, music, video game, and book publishing companies, production companies Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Touchstone, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, mobile app developer Disney Mobile, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, and theme parks in several countries.||US$55.13 billion (Pre-21st Century Fox acquisition)|
|AT&T||Holdings include: WarnerMedia (CNN, The CW (a joint venture with CBS), HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, HLN, NBA TV, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, AT&T SportsNet, Audience, Otter Media, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and New Line Cinema), DirecTV, U-Verse, other channels, AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless.||US$31.27 billion|
|Fox Corporation||Holdings include: Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Group (Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox News Radio, Fox News Talk, Fox Nation), Fox Sports (FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes, Big Ten Network (51%), Fox Sports Radio)||US$28.50 billion (Under 21st Century Fox)|
|CBS Corporation||Holdings include: CBS Television Network and the CW (a joint venture with Time Warner), cable networks CBS Sports Network, Showtime, Pop; 30 television stations; Entercom, owner of hundreds of radio stations; CBS Television Studios; book publisher Simon & Schuster.||US$13.69 billion|
|Viacom||Holdings include: MTV, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land, VH1, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo TV, Paramount Network, Paramount Pictures, and Paramount Home Media Distribution.||US$13.26 billion|
*Although Viacom and CBS Corporation have been separate companies since 2006, they are both partially owned subsidiaries of the private National Amusements company, headed by Sumner Redstone. As such, Paramount Home Entertainment handles DVD/Blu-ray distribution for most of the CBS Corporation library. CBS has also recently spun off its radio assets, causing them to merge with Entercom.
News Corporation was split into two separate companies on June 28, 2013, with publishing assets and Australian media assets going to a spin-off known as News Corp, and broadcasting and media assets going to 21st Century Fox. Both companies remain under the control of Rupert Murdoch, although Murdoch has reduced involvement in the new News Corp. Most of 21st Century Fox's acquisition is now owned by the Walt Disney Company, while others have gone into the newly founded Fox Corporation
About 70% of Venezuelan TV and radio stations are privately owned, while only about 5% or less of these stations are currently state-owned. The remaining stations are mostly community owned. VTV was the only state TV channel in Venezuela only about a decade ago. For the last decade, through the present day, the Venezuelan government operates and owns five more stations.
Commercial outlets completely rule over the radio sector. However, the Venezuelan government funds a good number of radio shows and TV stations. The primary newspapers of Venezuela are private companies that are frequently condemning of their government. These newspapers being produced in Venezuela do not have a large following.
Supporting Media Deregulation:
Opposing Media Deregulation:Benton Foundation
The Benton Foundation is a nonprofit organization set up by former U.S. Senator William Benton and his wife, Helen Hemingway Benton. Their son, Charles Benton, served as chairman and CEO until his death in 2015.The Benton Foundation was the owner of the Encyclopædia Britannica from 1974 until 1996, when it was bought by Jacqui Safra. The formation of the Benton Foundation was announced at the bicentennial banquet for the Britannica in 1968. The mission of the Foundation was re-vamped somewhat in 1981 by Charles Benton, but it has always focused on using media for the public good, particularly for educational purposes.
In recent years, the Foundation has been most famous for its championing of digital access and for demanding public responsibility by mass media. The Benton Foundation has pushed for a national broadband policy at the highest levels of U.S. government. It has also been pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine the public interest obligations of digital television broadcasters. Finally, it has sponsored studies that suggest that concentration of media ownership in a few hands is not in the interests of the United States.Concentration of media ownership in Turkey
Media ownership in Turkey is highly concentrated. According to experts, Turkish media ownership structure prevents citizens from receiving reliable information.In Turkey, 40% of all media are owned by eight media groups. Half of these top media owners have investments in at least three out of four media types (radio, TV, newspapers and online web portals). The top media owners, Doğan and Kalyon Groups, have investments in all four media types and share 10% and 7% of all media audience respectively. These groups are followed by Demirören Group (6%), Ciner Group (5%), Doğuş Group (4%) and state-owned Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) (3%).Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are commercial corporations. The conglomerates they own (Doğan, Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Turkuvaz/Zirve/Kalyon, İhlas and Ethem Sancak companies) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining and tourism. Some of them have won major public tenders in the past few years, ranging from the third airport in Istanbul to metro construction and urban redevelopment projects.Corporate censorship
Corporate censorship is censorship by corporations. It is when a spokesperson, employer, or business associate sanctions a speaker's speech by threat of monetary loss, employment loss, or loss of access to the marketplace. It is present in many different kinds of industries.Duopoly (broadcasting)
A duopoly (or twinstick, referring to "stick" as jargon for a radio tower) is a situation in television and radio broadcasting in which two or more stations in the same city or community share common ownership.Editorial independence
Editorial independence is the freedom of editors to make decisions without interference from the owners of a publication. Editorial independence is tested, for instance, if a newspaper runs articles that may be unpopular with its advertising clientele or critical of its ownership.Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, commonly shortened to FRIENDS, is a Canadian advocacy group that monitors developments in the Canadian television and radio broadcasting industries. The group promotes expansion of public broadcasting, investment in Canadian content, and production of local news while opposing concentration of media ownership and foreign ownership of Canadian broadcasters.
FRIENDS also presents the Dalton Camp Award, named in honour of journalist and political commentator Dalton Camp. The $10,000 award is presented to the winner of an essay competition on the link between Canadian media and democracy.
The group is non-partisan.List of family-owned newspapers in the United States
The following is a partial list of family-owned newspapers in the United States. It represents the small subset of the list of newspapers in the United States which are run by a family business, and may include exceptions to or examples of concerns about concentration of media ownership.Mainstream media
Mainstream media (MSM) is a term and abbreviation used to refer collectively to the various large mass news media that influence a large number of people, and both reflect and shape prevailing currents of thought. The term is used to contrast with alternative media which may contain content with more dissenting thought at variance with the prevailing views of mainstream sources.
The term is often used for large news conglomerates, including newspapers and broadcast media, that underwent successive mergers in many countries. The concentration of media ownership has raised concerns of a homogenization of viewpoints presented to news consumers. Consequently, the term mainstream media has been widely used in conversation and the blogosphere, sometimes in oppositional, pejorative, or dismissive senses, in discussion of the mass media and media bias.
According to philosopher Noam Chomsky, media organizations with an elite audience such as CBS News and The New York Times are successful corporations with the assets necessary to set the tone for other smaller news organizations which lack comparable resources by creating conversations that cascade down to smaller news organizations using the Associated Press and other means of aggregation. An elite mainstream sets the agenda and smaller organizations parrot itMedia conglomerate
A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company that owns numerous companies involved in mass media enterprises, such as television, radio, publishing, motion pictures, theme parks, or the Internet. According to the magazine The Nation, "Media conglomerates strive for policies that facilitate their control of the markets around the world."Media imperialism
Media imperialism is a theory based upon an over-concentration of mass media from larger nations as a significant variable in negatively affecting smaller nations, in which the national identity of smaller nations is lessened or lost due to media homogeneity inherent in mass media from the larger countries.Media of Bulgaria
The media of Bulgaria refers to mass media outlets based in Bulgaria. Television, magazines, and newspapers are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Bulgaria guarantees freedom of speech.
As a country in transition, Bulgaria's media system is under transformation.
Bulgaria's media are generally deemed unbiased, although the state still dominates the field through the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. Bulgarian media have a record of unbiased reporting, although they are deemed potentially at risk of political influence due to the lack of legislation to protect them. The written media have no legal restrictions and newspaper publishing is entirely liberal. The extensive freedom of the press means that no exact number of publications can be established, although some research put an estimate of around 900 print media outlets for 2006. The largest-circulation daily newspapers include Dneven Trud and 24 Chasa.Non-printed media sources, such as television and radio, are overseen by the Council for Electronic Media (CEM), an independent body with the authority to issue broadcasting licenses. Apart from a state-operated national television channel, radio station and the Bulgarian News Agency, a large number of private television and radio stations exist. However, most Bulgarian media experience a number of negative trends, such as general degradation of media products, self-censorship and economic or political pressure. Slavi's Show and Gospodari Na Efira are among the most popular TV programs, both having more than 1,000,000 views per show.Internet media are growing in popularity due to the wide range of available opinions and viewpoints, lack of censorship and diverse content.Media ownership in Canada
Media ownership in Canada is governed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), with respect to audiovisual media and telecom networks, and other agencies with more specific jurisdiction, in the case of non-broadcast media -- like the Competition Bureau, with respect to competition matters, and Department of Canadian Heritage regarding foreign investment in the cultural sector. The CRTC implements the policies of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act within Canada but, because its jurisdiction is limited to these, does not regulate the ownership of newspapers or of non-audiovisual Internet activity, although it has taken press and non-audiovisual Internet activity taken into consideration in deciding on broadcasting matters. Thus far, the CRTC has undertaken very little regulation of Internet-based audiovisual programming.Media proprietor
A media proprietor, media mogul or media tycoon refers to a successful entrepreneur or businessperson who controls, through personal ownership or via a dominant position in any media related company or enterprise, media consumed by a large number of individuals. Those with significant control, ownership, and influence of a large company in the mass media may also be called a tycoon, baron, or business magnate. Social media creators and founders can also be considered media moguls, as such channels deliver media to a large consumer base.Monopolies of knowledge
Monopolies of knowledge arise when the ruling class maintains political power through control of key communications technologies. This theory suggests that monopolies of knowledge gradually suppress new ways of thinking. Entrenched hierarchies become increasingly rigid and out of touch with social realities. Challenges to elite power are often likely to arise on the margins of society. The arts, for example, are often seen as a means of escape from the sterility of conformist thought.The Canadian economic historian Harold Innis developed the concept of monopolies of knowledge in his later writings on communications theories. An example of this occurs in ancient Egypt where a complex writing system conferred a monopoly of knowledge on literate priests and scribes. Mastering the art of writing and reading required long periods of apprenticeship and instruction, confining knowledge to this powerful class.Innis's warnings about monopolies of knowledge take on particular urgency in the years immediately preceding his death in 1952. In his later writings, he argued that industrialization and mass media had led to the mechanization of a culture in which more personal forms of oral communication were radically devalued. "Reading is quicker than listening," Innis wrote in 1948. "The printing press and the radio address the world instead of the individual."Rimshot (broadcasting)
A rimshot is a radio and television broadcasting term for a station that attempts to reach a larger media market from a distant suburban, exurban, or even rural location. The term is primarily used with FM stations, and mainly in North America. The name derives not from the sound of a rimshot in music, but rather from basketball, where the ball hits the rim of the basket, and may or may not go in.
Rimshot stations are often at a disadvantage compared to higher-strength signals in a market. Many rimshot operators attempt to serve the larger market with a signal that has deficiencies in the intended listening area, especially on the far side from where it is transmitted.
Many (if not most) rimshot stations are move-ins, having moved to about halfway between their city of license (which they are legally required to cover and serve) and the metro area which they actually care about. In this manner, the broadcast range of the station ideally covers both. Although stations have traditionally been required to keep their main studio in their community of license, this has become less and less meaningful as more and more have been granted waivers to consolidate radio studios at a single location due to concentration of media ownership.
In the U.S., it was FCC MM docket 80-90 that allowed FM stations to have closer spacing, thereby allowing move-ins, and some new stations as well. This has generally been allowed, especially when it makes room for additional stations in outlying areas. In these cases, the table of allotments is amended in a rulemaking proceeding, although this is not always a requirement to move a station in most cases, depending on each particular situation.
On an international level, stations which attempt to serve another country are called "border blasters". These are primarily Mexican AM stations operating at very high power on clear channels to reach the American Southwest and beyond via skywave at night.
In Canada, the CRTC restricts most same-market duopolies in television to channels broadcasting in different languages. Hence, English-language duopolies in major Canadian markets have involved stations licensed to rimshot major cities or serve different portions of a larger metropolitan area (such as Victoria for Vancouver, Hamilton and Barrie for Toronto, and Pembroke for Ottawa).Royal Commission on Newspapers
The Royal Commission on Newspapers, popularly known as the Kent Commission, was a Canadian Royal Commission chaired by Tom Kent. It was created in 1980 in response to growing concerns over concentration of media ownership in Canada. The Commission's final report was delivered in 1981.Much of the impetus for the creation of the commission was the virtually simultaneous closure, on August 26–27, 1980, of two major daily newspapers: the Ottawa Journal (owned by the Thomson Corporation) and the Winnipeg Tribune (owned by Southam Inc.). These closures gave each chain a monopoly in the two markets, Southam with the Ottawa Citizen and Thomson with the Winnipeg Free Press. The resulting allegations of collusion prompted the Canadian government to launch the Kent Commission.State media
State media or state-owned media is media for mass communication which is "controlled financially and editorially by the state." These news outlets may be the sole media outlet or may exist in competition with corporate and non-corporate media.
State media is not to be confused with public-sector media, which is "funded directly or indirectly by the state, but over which the state does not have tight editorial control."Television station
A television station is a set of equipment managed by a business, organisation or other entity, such as an amateur television (ATV) operator, that transmits video content via radio waves directly from a transmitter on the earth's surface to a receiver on earth. Most often the term refers to a station which broadcasts structured content to an audience or it refers to the organization that operates the station. A terrestrial television transmission can occur via analog television signals or, more recently, via digital television signals. Television stations are differentiated from cable television or other video providers in that their content is broadcast via terrestrial radio waves. A group of television stations with common ownership or affiliation are known as a TV network and an individual station within the network is referred to as O&O or affiliate, respectively.
Because television station signals use the electromagnetic spectrum, which in the past has been a common, scarce resource, governments often claim authority to regulate them. Broadcast television systems standards vary around the world. Television stations broadcasting over an analog system were typically limited to one television channel, but digital television enables broadcasting via subchannels as well. Television stations usually require a broadcast license from a government agency which sets the requirements and limitations on the station. In the United States, for example, a television license defines the broadcast range, or geographic area, that the station is limited to, allocates the broadcast frequency of the radio spectrum for that station's transmissions, sets limits on what types of television programs can be programmed for broadcast and requires a station to broadcast a minimum amount of certain programs types, such as public affairs messages.
Another form a television station may take is non-commercial educational (NCE) and considered public broadcasting. To avoid concentration of media ownership of television stations, government regulations in most countries generally limit the ownership of television stations by television networks or other media operators, but these regulations vary considerably. Some countries have set up nationwide television networks, in which individual television stations act as mere repeaters of nationwide programs. In those countries, the local television station has no station identification and, from a consumer's point of view, there is no practical distinction between a network and a station, with only small regional changes in programming, such as local television news.W253BG
W253BG, known on-air as X98.5, is an Alternative rock radio station located in Greenville, South Carolina area. Although licensed as a broadcast translator prohibited from carrying its own programming, it broadcasts under a legal loophole allowed by the Federal Communications Commission, by simulcasting on HD Radio channel 2 of WJMZ FM 107.3, allowing such stations to sidestep the restriction on translators, as well as regulations regarding the excessive concentration of media ownership by a single company in a given media market.