Project mission statement

The Global Media Finances Map is a project developed by the Media and Journalism Research Center (MJRC) that aims to analyze the link between the financial power of the news media companies and the supply of news and journalistic content. The depth of data collected in the project allows for a comprehensive understanding of news media operations and journalistic initiatives in various contexts, whether they are global, national, regional, or local.

For more about Global Media Finances Map, check the project website.


The impact of media ownership concentration has been extensively studied over the past three decades or so from a wide range of angles.

These studies have shown that media concentration is anti-democratic as it curtails cultural diversity (Kawashima, 2011), reduces citizens’ access to needed information and ideas (Baker, 2007), and turns cultural production companies into vehicles for wealth concentration (Hesmondhalgh, 2012). 

A substantial body of literature on media ownership, led particularly by Noam’s 2009 seminal study (Noam, 2009), has thus far produced breakthrough results, shedding light on the threats to pluralism and diversity that arise from the concentration of media ownership (Winseck, 2008).

In an article from 2012, Freedman mapped three approaches to the analysis of media ownership that collectively provide a less Western-centric, more holistic description of the problems caused by media concentration (Freedman 2012).

The first approach is focused on quantitative data, such as the breakdown of various forms of ownership structures, revenue and profit figures, and information about income streams. Studies in this realm have focused on mapping specific media environments such as the United States (Compaine & Gomery 2000; Noam 2009) and Europe (Kelly et al. 2004; Open Society Institute 2005) or global overviews (Open Society Foundations 2012). It is important to mention here also the works that detailed interventions into broadcast speech and ownership (Creech 2007; Napoli 2001; Stolte & Craufurd Smith 2010). In this quantitative approach, economic analysis ( often the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI) that measures market competition) is most systematically used.

A second approach to studying media ownership is through the pursuit of normative models, specifically “ideal types” of ownership structure or regulatory behavior. According to the proponents of this approach, the media is seen collectively as a “watchdog” with a mission to “monitor the full range of state activity and fearlessly expose abuses of official authority” (Curran 2002). They argue that the dispersion of media power prevents the abuse of “communicative power” (Baker 2007). 

Finally, the third approach to the study of media ownership goes beyond quantitative data and normative positions, aiming instead to identify the link between various ways of perceiving competition and concentration and specific ideological positions. Scholars who have adopted this approach view the structures of media ownership as mechanisms for securing consent to “market-driven politics” (Leys 2001).

For the most complete bibliography on media ownership, see Freedman 2012 and Noam 2009.

Research focus

Thanks to the solid scholarly work and the raft of research projects conducted so far, we now have access to a wealth of data about media concentration in various countries. The Global Media Finances Map has been designed as a research tool that provides up-to-date and exhaustive data and information about the financial state of the news media ecology through an in-depth collection of financial data of all existing news media and journalistic operations at all levels (national, regional, local, hyperlocal).

Thus, the Global Media Finances Map project aims to cover all news media companies, ranging from the largest players with global and nationwide coverage to regional media outlets, local media, as well as small city-focused news outlets. 

Global Media Finances Map project covers all media companies in a given market that produce news content, including broadcasters (television and radio players), print publishers, and online portals. We include generalist media but also media outlets with a specific topical focus (sports, culture, religion, etc.) as long as they produce or distribute news. However, we do not include media outlets without any role in the news production sector, such as music-only or movie-only channels, broadcasters specialized in airing sport events without reporters and journalists on the payroll, or purely entertainment or free-time media outlets whose content production does not include journalistic reporting, such as fashion publications, magazines focused on hobbies, or TV program schedules.

The Global Media Finances Map project is building on over 25 years of research into media ownership and funding, which was designed, led, and carried out by the MJRC’s director, Marius Dragomir, as part of various organizations. These projects include Television Across Europe, which conducted a study of broadcast media in more than 20 countries in Europe between 2004 and 2009, and Mapping Digital Media, a research project that covered 56 countries worldwide and mapped a variety of trends in the media field. Both projects were run by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) with a combined team of over 400 researchers.

The Global Media Finances Map also uses data collected in more recent research projects conducted by the MJRC, particularly the center’s flagship project Media Influence Matrix, an ongoing study that examines key trends in media regulation, ownership and funding, and technology, which was launched in 2017. 

The Global Media Finances Map is anchored in a database of over 30,000 news media companies that has been created through data collected through the projects mentioned above. Our plan is to gradually make these profiles public and further grow the database.

Based on triangulating facts on finances, audience, and ownership, the project methodology goes beyond measuring the combined market shares of the largest players at a macro-level, seeking instead to assess the financial power and influence (or lack thereof) of all players in the news media ecosystem and the links between them.

Methods and findings

The Global Media Finances Map consists of a three stages of data collection, as follows: 

Step 1: Market scan

Using audience datasets, the first step is to build a list of all media companies in a specific national market. These companies are then divided based on their coverage, which can be nationwide, regional (covering more than one county or local unit), or local. To gather this information, existing audience mapping and measurement datasets are utilized. 

Depending on the local context, we divide the media into licensed operators (media outlets that require authorization to operate, such as broadcasters that need to be licensed by the media regulator) and unlicensed operators (media outlets that do not require authorization to operate, such as print media or news portals). 

To collect the names of the players in the first category, we use the registries of the national regulators or other authorities in charge of licensing media in the country, where available. To collect the names of the players in the second category, we conduct a combination of desk research and rely on local expertise, including interviews with local experts and journalists. 

Step 2: Ownership tabulation

After creating the media map on a national scale, we identify the owners of each media group by primarily using resources from the national regulatory authorities, which are responsible for collecting data on the owners of broadcast companies operating in the country, as well as national trade registries. Furthermore, we map all ownership connections between these owners and other companies across various industries. 

Step 3: Finances mapping

In the first step of the research, we collect a wide range of financial data for each operator. We usually use the national fiscal databases, where all companies operating in a national context are legally obliged to file income reports. 

The data collected includes:

a). Turnover (revenues); b). Expenditure (costs); c). Profit (net and gross); d). Size of staff; e). Turnover (revenue) per employee; f). Profit per employee; g). Market value of the company; h). Indebtedness rate, etc.

Step 4: Analysis

The data collected during the three stages of research is used to:

1). Create a series of indicators describing the financial viability of the media in a given country as follows:

  • Total value of news media production (an indicator that we termed as News Media Domestic Product (NMDP): the sum of the turnover of all media companies in a market)
  • The average profitability of the news media sector (calculated both as an overall sum as well as a mean value of the profit figures of all companies)
  • Average value of costs/expenditure per news media outlet 
  • Average number of staff working in a news media outlet
  • Average news media operation market value
  • Average indebtedness rate in the news media sector

2). Analyze the main trends in the news media industry: 

2.1 at all levels of geographical coverage, i.e., macro-level (nationwide media); meso-level (regional media); and micro-level (local media, going all the way to the role played by small city news media);

2.2 by the type of media (broadcast, online only, print, etc.);

2.3 by the profile of the media outlet (news-focused, cultural, sports, religious, etc.

Data in the Global Media Finances Map project provides answers to the following questions: 

Who are the largest generators of income in the news media market (from national media to local media)?

Who are the most profitable players in the news media market (from national media to local media)?

Among which types of media and in which areas (counties, regions, cities) is the largest concentration of wealth in the news media sector?

Who are the ownership groups with the largest aggregation of income (from national media to local media)?

Who are the most financially viable independent media groups (defined as media outlets not owned or controlled by state authorities, oligarchic structures or other groups of interests, where journalists and editors only are fully in charge of the editorial decision-making process)?

Where are the major concentrations of audience and funding among media groups in the market (from national media to local media)?


C. Edwin Baker. (2007). Media ownership and concentration: why ownership matters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Benjamin M. Compaine, & Douglas Gomery. (2000). Who owns the media? Competition and concentration in the mass media industry. 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kenneth C. Creech. (2007). Electronic media law and regulation. 5th ed. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

James Curran. (2002). Media and power. London: Routledge. 

Des Freedman. (2014). Metrics, models and the meaning of media ownership. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 20:2, 170-185.

David Hesmondhalgh. (2012). The cultural industries. 3rd ed. London: Sage.

Nobuko Kawashima. (2011). Are the global media and entertainment conglomerates having an impact on cultural diversity? A critical assessment of the argument in the case of the film industry. International journal of cultural policy, 17 (5), 475–489. 

Mary Kelly, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, & Denis McQuail (eds.). (2004). The media in Europe: the Euromedia handbook. London: Sage.

Colin Leys. (2001). Market-driven politics: neoliberal democracy and the public interest. London: Verso. 

Philip M. Napoli. (2001). Foundations of communications policy. Cresskill: Hampton Press. 

Eli Noam. (2009). Media ownership and concentration in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Open Society Institute. (2005). Television across Europe: regulation, policy and independence. Budapest: OSI. 

Open Society Foundations. (2012). Mapping digital media – country reports [online]. Available at [Accessed 5 November 2022]. 

Yolande Stolte & Rachael Craufurd Smith. (2010). The European Union and media ownership transparency: the scope for regulatory intervention. Open Society Media Program

Dwayne Winseck. (2008). The state of media ownership and media markets: Competition or concentration and why should we care?. Sociology Compass, 2(1), 34-47.