Media Regulation, Competition Policy and Cross-ownership Schemes

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  • Title: Media Regulation, Competition Policy and Cross-ownership Schemes: The Case of Greece
  • Author(s): Theodore Koutsobinas
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Communication and Media Studies
  • Keywords: Media Regulation, Cross-Ownership, Competition Policy, Diversity of Opinion, Market Concentration
  • Volume: 3
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2470-9247 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2470-9255 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Koutsobinas, Theodore . 2018. "Media Regulation, Competition Policy and Cross-ownership Schemes: The Case of Greece." The Journal of Communication and Media Studies 3 (2): 1-16. doi:10.18848/2470-9247/CGP/v03i02/1-16.
  • Extent: 16 pages


The regulation of media, which is an important sector within broad cultural economy, runs into substantive difficulties when it interfaces with competition regulation. In this paper, the Greek experience on media regulation is discussed as a research input for the development of a theoretical approach that involves competition analysis. This discussion takes place in relation to similar international developments with a special focus on the Australian experience. In the Greek case, serious attempts to regulate aggressive media groups based on their market share and their involvement in other forms of business have failed because of incompatibility with competition law and erroneous restrictive regulation for political reasons. Therefore, the relation between media, family businesses, and cross-ownership schemes must be examined further. An analytical approach is proposed through the development of a basic model of private benefits for media based on core cross-ownership theory. The model demonstrates that cross-ownership schemes in the media can produce inefficient economic outcomes with high agency costs. The paper focuses on the possible interface of the media policy with the competition policy and the need to separate those two processes, since competition policy fundamentally addresses economic outcomes while media regulation deals with non-economic ones. Still, to the extent that the media are dominated by family businesses and cross-ownership schemes that are involved in other businesses, they can produce ineffective economic outcomes and agency costs in exchange for large private benefits (in the case of Greece, mainly from public contracts). Thus, the development of regulation on media requires a greater level of sophistication on the part of policy-makers so that the difficulties stemming from cross-ownership can be successfully addressed.