When it comes to concentration of media ownership in Australia, the more things change the more they stay the same. The only difference now is that the Murdoch super-dominance of our media is shared, in an egalitarian Australian way, between father and son.

Here are a few sobering facts* for weekend contemplation…

Lachlan Murdoch (together with James Packer) will holds a prescribed interest (ie: greater than 15%) in Cavalane Holdings’s 16.48% interest in the Ten network.

Lachlan Murdoch owns 50% of DMG Radio, which has a 53% reach of the Australian population, and operates in all metro markets.

Lachlan Murdoch holds an estimated one-sixth interest (a defacto prescribed stake) in the potential estate of Rupert Murdoch, which owns around 38% of News Corporation’s voting stock.

Lachlan Murdoch would logically not work against the interests of News Corporation, given the estate value of around $6 billion.

Lachlan Murdoch is a director of News Corporation, which owns News Limited, which owns between 61-78% (weekday, Saturday and Sunday) of Australian newspaper circulations, some 111 suburban newspapers, 25 regional newspapers, 30 magazines, 25% and management control of Foxtel, and 33% of Sky News Australia (through its UK broadcaster BSkyB).

Lachlan Murdoch is deputy chairman of Prime TV and owns 8.9% of Prime TV. With his interests in Prime and TEN he reaches over 75% of Australians (the reach limit) through free-to-air television.

According to media writer James Chessell in today’s Australian: “A paradox of the ‘future of media’ debate is that while most participants agree a digital world creates new challenges for traditional media, the threat of anti-competitive behaviour is raised with alarming regularity.”

But why, given the facts, would anyone rationally raise the threat of anti-competitive behaviour “with alarming regularity”?

*With assistance from media analyst Roger Colman

Peter Fray

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