Carleton University’s Dwayne Winseck, professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, directed the Canadian Media Concentration Research project which recently released its results. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and is focused on developing a comprehensive, systematic and long-term analysis of the media, Internet and telecom industries in Canada.
The report examines competition and concentration trends from 1984 until 2013 in 15 different sectors of the network media economy. The study assesses which media markets are competitive, moderately concentrated or highly concentrated.
- Media concentration in Canada is not the highest in the world, as some critics claim, but vertical integration is among the highest of the 28 countries surveyed.
- Concentration levels have increased notably since 2010.
- Vertical integration across the digital media landscape more than doubled from 2008 to 2013, as Bell, Rogers, Shaw and QMI expanded their stakes in mobile wireless, Internet access, cable, satellite and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) – and in more traditional media such as TV and radio.
- Bell, Shaw, Rogers and Quebecor accounted for two-thirds of all TV revenues, up from 48 per cent in 2004. Bell and Shaw alone account for half of all revenues in the Canadian television market, while the CBC’s share fell to 19 per cent in 2013, less than half what it was in 1990.
- New players have added diversity to the scene, but their impact has been modest and their futures are uncertain.
- While the Internet and digital media are often seen as wide open and competitive spaces — search, social media, smartphone operating systems and browsers are amongst the most concentrated media.
- Google’s share of search rose to 71 per cent in 2013 and it was the sixth largest media company in Canada, just behind Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw and Quebecor.
- Facebook’s estimated Canadian revenues are now greater than the online and mobile advertising revenues for all Canadian newspapers combined.
“This study debunks the myth that Canada has the highest level of media concentration in the developed world. However, it also reveals core features of the Internet have very high levels of concentration and the integration amongst companies across media, Internet and telecom markets is the highest among the 28 countries studied. These realities underpin current, high-profile and hotly contested public policy issues whose settlement will shape the evolution of the media and Internet for decades to come.” Winseck
Media Relations Officer
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