Thursday 22 February 2018

Vague media merger rules give minister room for manoeuvre

Communications Minister Alex White
Communications Minister Alex White
Steve Dempsey

Steve Dempsey

Media companies are getting together like never before. Charter's hooking up with Time Warner Cable. Verizon has tied the knot with AOL. Vox media recently snapped up Re/code. And the canniest of investors, Warren Buffett, has been acquiring local newspapers in the US for a few years now.

But there's not a lot of action back here in Ireland. Our media landscape is dominated by RTE and a handful of big players. INM - owners of this paper and a host of other titles - accounts for over 40pc of all Irish newspaper sales. UTV Radio runs seven stations in the country. Communicorp has full ownership of five. Landmark Media Investments owns three regional radio stations, 11 local newspapers and one national one. We already have a fairly consolidated media market.

So the Government's new guidelines on media mergers, released earlier this week, may well be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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