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Watchdog ACMA launches new interactive guide to media ownership in Australia

Media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched a new interactive guide to media ownership in Australia.

Mumbrella media ownership

Media Ownership in Australia. Click to enlarge.

The online map charts the locations of major media enterprises and provides details of the various enterprises with clear geographic and media breakdowns of the interests of media moguls, like Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon, Kerry Stokes, John Singleton and Bill Caralis.

“This is interesting because it confirm what we all knew”, said Peter Fray head of the UTS School of Journalism. “It shows how concentrated our media ownership is in this country. 

“It is fascinating to take the Rupert Murdoch screen and then look at Lachlan Murdoch. They have considerable interests and then that also leads you to APN News & Media, which might well form a closer relationship with the Murdoch empire in this country.”

Rupert Murdoch's media interest. Click to enlarge.

Rupert Murdoch’s media interest. Click to enlarge.

Lachlan Murdoch's media interests.

Lachlan Murdoch’s media interests. Click to enlarge.

The move comes in the same week Communications Minister Mitch Fifield confirmed he had begun talks with the Labor Party and crossbench Senators on media reform, including abolishing the reach rule and rules limiting media ownership to two out of three medium.

Media companies have this week welcomed the Coalition moves to pass a media reform package in 2016 which is expected to lead to a wave of media mergers and acquisitions, particularly among regional and metro broadcast players. However, some players such as Kerry Stokes’s Seven West Media are still opposing major change. 

“Looking at the breakdown of Kerry Stokes for example it is interesting to see his interests broken down in this way,” said Fray.

Kerry Stokes' media interests. Click to enlarge.

Kerry Stokes’ media interests. Click to enlarge.

Fray: we will see more concentration of media

Fray: we will see more concentration of media

“Likewise you can see Bruce Gordon sitting at the top of the main graphic with a finger in some very interesting pies. Nearly 15 per cent of Ten, 15 per cent of Nine and his family owned WIN and as been speculated over recent weeks and months Bruce is clearly positioning himself for a change in the media rules. I think that is an interesting thing you can take out of this graphic.

“But I also think it will also be a surprise to people to see the influence and ownership of someone like Janet Cameron with Grant Broadcasters and likewise Bill Caralis both of whom have considerable holdings mainly in regional radio but cover a lot of the country.

Jant Cameron

Janet Cameron’s media interests. Click to enlarge.

“Their interests reach big audiences and we in the media don’t pay probably sufficient attention to them and we probably should. They have considerable influence in regional Australia and also have stations in Perth, Canberra etc.”

Fray said the map highlighted the need for greater media diversity in ownership.

“This is an interesting insight and to my mind shows the need for greater media diversity and I think we are likely to see the reverse (in coming months) with a greater concentration when the rules change.”

Nic Christensen 

Click here to view the full media ownership interactive.

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