On 1 December 2010, Ofcom published new guidance on local media assessments (LMA). The guidelines set out Ofcom’s proposed approach to providing the OFT with assessments of the sector, relevant competitive constraints and relevant customer benefits of mergers between local newspapers, radio or television broadcasters.
DotEcon assisted Ofcom in the lead-up to these guidelines, by providing it with a report on the economics of potential consumer benefits arising from local media mergers. Merger impacts on consumers in commercial media markets – one of the topics an LMA might address – are among the most difficult for authorities to analyse because of the intangible nature of the content and ‘quality’ dimensions that define a media product.
DotEcon’s report looked at the theory and evidence for the circumstances in which local media mergers could create benefits to readers, listeners or viewers that might be weighed against a lessening of competition for advertising customers, and how these propositions could be examined in practice. Download the report here.