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Measuring Plurality across platforms: Ofcom report

posted on 19 June, 2012   (public)

In October 2011, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport asked Ofcom to provide advice on the feasibility of measuring media plurality across platforms. On 19 June 2012, Ofcom published a report  giving an answer to the five questions raised by Jeremy Hunt. 

In answering the questions, Ofcom considered the underlying goals of plurality, its definition and scope. According to Ofcom, an effective framework for measuring media plurality is likely to be based on quantitative evidence and analysis wherever practical. However, there are also areas where a high degree of judgement is required. The appropriate approach to exercising such judgement is ultimately for Parliament to debate and determine.
A recurrent theme in the report is the need to ensure a sustainable regulatory approach to plurality against the background of a media market that is increasingly converged, with distinctions between platforms blurring, and online growing in importance.

The five questions that Ofcom had to provide an answer to were the following:

  • Question 1: What are the options for measuring media plurality across platforms? What do you recommend is the best approach?
  • Question 2: Could or should a framework for measuring plurality include websites and if so which ones?
  • Question 3: What could trigger a review of plurality in the absence of a merger, how might this be monitored and by whom?
  • Question 4: Is it practical or advisable to set absolute limits on news market share?
  • Question 5: Whether or how should a framework include the BBC?

Executive Summary

Ofcom’s report on measuring media plurality

Source: Ofcom website