Transparency of media ownership and opinion-forming power: OFCOM launches monitoring tool

posted on 19 November, 2018   (public)

Analysis for 2017 shows a sufficiently diversified market and no media with a dominant position

On 13 November 2018, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) launched the Swiss Media Monitoring, an interactive Website which aims to document the degree of influence of the press, radio, TV and online media, on the formation of public opinion. The data collected also provide information on the ownership structures and business ties in the Swiss media market.

 The Swiss Media Monitoring aims to provide an objective and systematic database for the yearly evaluation of the local media landscape based on nearly 170 media brands and nine media groups in national markets, markets specific to linguistic regions and 14 local regional markets.

The monitoring tool is based on data from three research modules. In the first, the researchers examined the role of the various media on individual opinion formation in the Swiss population using a representative survey. In the second, they analyzed data from baseline studies in the field of media research to determine the importance of different media for the public. In the third, the researchers established ownership and participation structures in the Swiss media market on the basis of annual reports, industry studies and continuous market observation. The results are presented in a constantly updated database, available in German, French and Italian

The analysis for 2017 reveals the following general trends:

  • TV has greater influence on the opinion-forming than the printed press, radio and online media.
  • The Swiss market is fragmented: no media group exercises absolute national domination.
  • SRG SSR, the public service broadcaster, is the most influential media company, with 31% of the total influence on public opinion, with a market power of 30% throughout Switzerland.
  • The most influencial media outlet is the free newspaper "20 Minuten / 20 minutes / 20 minuti", ahead of the SRG's radio and television programmes.
  • The importance of the different media categories varies according to the age of the users: while the youngest form an opinion based on a "20-minute" reading, older groups prefer SRG television and radio programmes.

Source: OFCOM website

Additional EPRA information: Many audiovisual media regulators are conducting regular media ownership monitoring and/or provide free-access databases providing information on transparency of ownership. Examples include the Dutch Commissariaat voor de Media (Mediamonitor), the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel of the French-speaking Community of Belgium (l'offre de médias et le pluralisme en Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) and the German Directors Conference of the State Media Authorities (MedienVielfaltsMonitor).