August 28, 2012
OpenMedia original article
Huffington Post: How Bell's takeover will worsen Canada's media concentration
That is by leaps and bounds the highest percentage in the G8. The second-place country, Japan, has only 37.5 per cent of its TV distribution controlled by content creators. In the U.S., it’s 23.1 per cent.
While observers have long argued Canada has among the most concentrated media in the world, so far there had been little empirical evidence to prove the point.
The Analysis Group's report notes the degree of media concentration is increasingly rapidly in Canada. As recently as 2009, only 40 per cent of the TV distribution market was in the hands of content creators, the report states — less than half the percentage today.
“The Canadian media sector is highly concentrated in comparison with other G8 countries, and the level of vertical integration exceeds any other G8 country,” the report notes.
But Canada is only second-worst when it comes to concentration of the TV audience. Canada’s largest media company, Bell Media, controls 28.6 per cent of the TV viewing market, according to the report. Italy’s largest broadcaster, Mediaset, controls 45 per cent of Italian viewership. (Italy’s Mediaset was founded and is still controlled by ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.)
If Bell Media gets regulatory approval to buy Astral, it will control 37.6 per cent of the TV viewing audience — still below Italy’s levels but higher than any other G8 country.
The Bell-Astral merger has brought the issue of media concentration in Canada to the forefront, after simmering on the back burner for decades.
A coalition of TV distributors launched a campaign last week to stop the merger, using data from the Analysis Group study to back up its argument that allowing the Bell-Astral merger would hurt consumers. However, some of the companies involved in that coalition, including Rogers Communications, are vertically integrated themselves, and contribute to the concentration of media ownership. Read more »
Read more at HuffingtonPost.ca
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