My column this week warns about how market power potentially undermines media freedom:
So much points to mainstream media as a natural oligopoly, even in the digital age. The Competition Commission characterises the industry as an emerging priority sector due to its “concentration and high barriers to entry”. But to repeat the oft-made point, market power does not in itself mean readers and viewers are getting a bad deal on price, access and quality. There are efficiencies that come with scale. Rivalry can proceed unimpeded even in a market constituted by few firms. That’s in theory.
At least three competition investigations into companies’ behaviour are under way, indicating all is not well in the marketplace of ideas.
Lingering questions about market power and its exercise, and how this shapes the newsroom, chip away at the legitimacy and credibility of this important segment of society. We have to watch this space.
For the full column, go here http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/columnists/2015/01/20/all-is-not-well-in-the-marketplace-of-ideas