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Measuring and mitigating media concentration



The speaker will review recent scholarly and policy initiatives in respect of media pluralism and argue that contradictions between policy objectives, in analytical approaches and deficiencies in some established methodologies mean that robust conclusions have been hard to secure. He argues that concerns about diminishing pluralism are likely to grow in consequence of changes in a dominant “legacy media” funding model as advertising revenues move online. Examining UK data, he proposes that a contemporary focus of concern, growing concentration in privately owned media, is overshadowed by the striking dominance of the publicly owned BBC and suggests established analytical methodologies used to analyse market power may offer a valuable analogy in definition and measurement of pluralism. He will consider possible alternatives to regulation as means of enhancing pluralism – notably use of subsidised entry.

About the speaker

Richard Collins has held university posts, latterly as Professor, in Australia (RMIT) and the UK (Polytechnic of Central London, Goldsmiths’ College, London Guildhall University, London School of Economics and the Open University) and fellowships/professorial appointments in Australia (CIRCIT and Swinburne University), Canada (Canadian Commonwealth Fellow, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario), South Africa (University of Natal, University of the Witwatersrand) and the USA (Temple University, University of Southern California). He was Head of Education and Deputy Director at the British Film Institute.

He (with Anna Coote) established the Communication Policy Research Programme at the Institute for Public Policy Research and he directed its media policy programme through the early and mid 1990s. He has been Specialist Advisor to three House of Lords’ Select Committee enquiries on media issues (BBC Charter Review, public service broadcasting and digital switchover) and has given invited evidence to parliamentary enquiries in Australia, Sweden, the UK and to the European Parliament. His consultancy work includes advising the Director General of Telecommunications (Oftel) on broadcasting and convergence issues, the Governors of the SABC on broadcasting finance and governance, training for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand and various evaluation roles for the European Commission. He now acts as a volunteer media researcher and policy analyst for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

He has published widely, in the UK and overseas, and his books include Culture Communication and National Identity The Case of Canadian Television (1990) University of Toronto Press, Toronto; Broadcasting and Audio-Visual Policy in the European Single Market (1994) John Libbey, London; New Media, New Policies (with Cristina Murroni) (1996) Polity Press, Cambridge; From Satellite to Single Market, New Communication Technology and European Public Service Television 1982-1992, (1998) LSE Books/Routledge, London; Media and Identity in Contemporary Europe, Consequences of Global Convergence (2002) Intellect, Bristol and Three Myths of Internet Governance (2009) Intellect, Bristol."

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When & where

4.00pm - 6.00pmTuesday 14th February 2012