When I am not blogging on this site I organise a research centre entitled Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD).
In 2011 we published our first New Zealand media ownership report. Before then Bill Rosenberg documented the sad story of our media system, mostly taken over by transnational corporations during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. His last report in 2008 is a culmination of these developments. It is easily available online if one does an author, keyword, date search.
The JMAD reports, since 2011 have been compiled by Merja Myllylahti a former London financial journalist who got on the wrong side of Goldman Sachs before the 2008 financial crash, an indication surely that she was good at her job.
As of 2011 there were four major commercial players in the New Zealand media market: APN News & Media, Fairfax Media, MediaWorks and News Corporation/Sky. In other words four companies, all overseas owned, predominated. There was a near duopoly in print and radio, a monopoly in pay television and only three significant competitors in free-to-air television, including the state-owned channels. This was also the state of play in 2008 when Bill Rosenberg wrote his last report. The last two years though has seen a structural shift in New Zealand media ownership.
To explain this some context is necessary. From the early 2000s the financialisation of global capitalism reshaped the strategies of transnational media conglomerates. As financial institutions expanded their operations, non-financial corporations became seen as an assemblage of business units that ought to be continuously restructured to maximise share price performance and profit rates. Thus, media corporations moved away from conglomeration toward a strategy of rationalising holdings around strong market positions in certain sectors. Aggressive, unlisted financial operators such as private equity companies grab media holdings as a lucrative source of revenue via acquisition and/or a leveraged buyout. In this context those transnational media corporates that have colonised the New Zealand mediascape are themselves becoming colonized, and dessicated by listed and unlisted financial institutions.
Such a process has ocurred in the cases of Ironbridge/Mediaworks, Fairfax and Sky Television. APN News & Media is now the only major player where the majority of shareholdings are held by a media company or companies. These developments point to an uncertain future for commercial media organisations and media professionals alike.
At the same time a historic decline in print media ownership has coincided with concerns about the viability of on- line news provision. Together, the trends mentioned here contribute to a hyper-commercialsation of the entire mainstream media domain. Consequently, public debate over economic, political and social issues has partly migrated to the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular.
The pieces I and others have written on the Daily Blog would not get mainstream media coverage. The same can be said about JMAD`s 2013 Media Ownership report which accompanies this blog. Yes, the report has had some favourable mainstream media mentions but no sustained discussion.
So…..loyal readers download the report and read it! You will see all the points made in this blog corroborated by statistical evidence.