Does media cross-ownership translate into cross-promotion? Analysing Flemish newspapers' coverage of affiliated and competing television stations
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Journalism studies. - Basingstoke
, p. 868-886
University of Antwerp
Recent waves of cross-media concentration, in Flanders (Belgium) and elsewhere, reinvigorate concerns regarding the impact of ownership structures on media content and the way in which it is produced, including discussions about editorial autonomy. However, with a main focus on hard news, this debate pays little attention to corporate influence on soft news issues, such as media's cross-promotion of affiliated media outlets. The current study wishes to address this shortcoming by means of a diachronic quantitative content analysis of Flemish newspapers' coverage of television programmes. The article analyses whether media cross-ownership results in cross-promotion of press outlets' affiliated television stations. Results partly support the thesis that newspapers cover their affiliated television stations more frequently. Yet the article also explores alternative explanations, such as characteristics of newspapers, of target audiences and of the television programmes obtaining coverage (including broadcast frequency and genre). Hence the article points to the complexity of tackling cross-promotion and the importance of taking alternative elements into account.