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The Game of Consolidation in TV Station Ownership
Posted at 4:38 p.m. on May 12
Katerina Eva Matsa writes for the Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank about the growth in local television station ownership among five companies. “A decade ago, the number of stations owned by what are now the five largest local TV companies was 190. Today, that number is 464,” writes Matsa, a research analyst for the center’s Journalism Project.
“The FCC recently tightened its rules concerning ownership of multiple stations in the same market. But, much consolidation has already occurred,” she writes.
The Pew Research Center found that five companies own 32 percent of all local television stations. The chart above also shows that growth in ownership over the past decade among these five companies ranged from roughly 62 percent in the case of the Tribune Company to 185 percent in the case of Media General (Your Technocrat-er once interned for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which used to be owned by Media General).
Note that the chart states that the figures used for the number of stations the companies currently own include “deals that have already taken place in 2014 or have been officially announced to occur sometime this calendar year.”
Matsa explained to Technocrat over email that the 2004 figures include the stations companies reported in their annual reports and that the “today” figures include stations they currently own, operate or to which they provide services, as well as acquisitions that are pending.
Sinclair Broadcast Group remained the company owning the most stations among the five, with 62 in 2004 and 167 today — a roughly 169 percent increase.
“If all pending sales go through, Sinclair will own, operate or provide services to 167 television stations in 77 markets, reaching almost 40% of the U.S. population.,” Matsa writes.