Without Favour: The Concentration of Ownership in New Brunswick’s Print Media Industry

Toby Couture

Abstract


This article examines the history and current state of ownership concentration in New Brunswick’s print media industry. At the time of writing, Brunswick News Inc. owns every English language daily, the majority of weeklies, and almost all French-language newspapers in the province. Moreover, the family-owned Irving group that owns Brunswick News Inc. also owns hundreds of other businesses operating in dozens of different sectors in the province, a fact that has raised concerns regarding media ownership concentration. Drawing on the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, this article quantitatively evaluates the claim that there is excessive concentration in the province’s print media industry. This analysis is supplemented by recent allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and editorial influence exerted by the Brunswick News papers, most notably that of the flagship Telegraph Journal. The article concludes that the evidence broadly supports these allegations, and that there is therefore an increasingly strong case for Canada’s Competition Bureau to take action.


Cet article examine l’histoire ainsi que l’état actuel de la concentration de propriété dans l’industrie journalière du Nouveau-Brunswick. Brunswick News Inc. appartient actuellement tous les quotidiens anglophones, la majorité des hebdomadaires, ainsi que presque toute la circulation francophone dans la province. De plus, le groupe Irving qui appartient Brunswick News Inc. appartient également de centaines d’autres entreprises dans de douzaines de différents secteurs de l’économie, un fait qui a suscité des inquiétudes vis-à-vis la concentration des médias dans la province. À l’aide l’Index Herfindahl-Hirschman, cet article évalue de façon quantitative la proposition que l’industrie journalière au Nouveau-Brunswick est excessivement concentrée. Cette analyse est ensuite supplémentée d’une investigation d’allégations récentes de comportement anticoncurrentiel, ainsi que d’influence éditoriale de la part des journaux de Brunswick News Inc., notamment celle du Telegraph-Journal. It conclut qu’en vue de telles allégations, il y a un argument de plus en plus convainquant en faveur de la mise en application de la loi du Bureau de la concurrence.


Keywords


Media/Mass media; Competition law; Media concentration; Newspapers; Ownership

Full Text: PDF HTML


DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2013v38n1a2578

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