Media outlets and their moguls: why concentrated individual or family ownership is bad for editorial independence


Chris Hanretty


March 27, 2014


This article investigates the levels of owner influence in 211 different print and broadcast outlets in 32 different European media markets. Drawing on the literature from industrial organization, it sets out reasons why we should expect greater levels of influence where ownership of individual outlets is concentrated, where it is concentrated in the hands of individuals or families and where ownership groups own multiple outlets in the same media market. Conversely, we should expect lower levels of influence where ownership is dispersed between transnational companies. The article uses original data on the ownership structures of these outlets and combines it with reliable expert judgements as to the level of owner influence in each of the outlets. These hypotheses are tested and confirmed in a multilevel regression model of owner influence. The findings are relevant for policy on ownership limits in the media and for the debate over transnational versus local control of media.


The version of record is open access. You can access it here.

Replication data

You can find replication data at the Harvard Dataverse


Hanretty, Chris. 2014. “Media Outlets and Their Moguls: Why Concentrated Individual or Family Ownership Is Bad for Editorial Independence.” European Journal of Communication 29 (3): 335–50.