High levels of revenue and ownership concentration in the media sector pose a threat to freedom of information in Peru. Concentration is also exceptionally high in terms of circulation and audience in the print and digital media sectors. MOM Peru, carried out from September and December 2016, has revealed a high degree of media ownership concentration as well as a lack of regulation by the state, and confirms the dominant position of the El Comercio Group.
- High concentration in various media sectors
The El Comercio Group concentrates 80% of the estimated circulation of newspapers and 78% of the market readership. Its weight on the Internet is unparalleled: According to the MOM analysis, it concentrates 65% of the estimated total audience of online news media.
Its economic power is also remarkable: El Comercio received 57% of the total revenue earned by the nine most important media groups. The estimated combined revenue of the three major groups El Comercio, ATV and Latina accounted for more than three quarters (77%) of the total market volume.
In free TV, much of the audience is concentrated on the channels controlled by the three largest groups in Peru: América Televisión, Latina and ATV. The four groups account for a combined 57% of the television audience as measured by Kantar Ibope Media in 2015. A similar scenario is found in the radio broadcast sector. The ten most important radio stations in the country are in the hands of four groups (RPP Group, CRP, Universal Corporation and Panamericana de Radios). In the Lima metropolitan region, the RPP and CRP Groups even surpass the legal limit of 20% of ownership of frequencies determined by the radio and television law: CRP alone has eight and Grupo RPP seven of the total 28 available frequencies.
- Media ownership is in the hands of families
Of the ten media groups investigated by MOM Peru, six are in the hands of families. Apart from the personal business activities of their individual owners, almost all of these groups concentrate their investments virtually exclusively in the communications sector.
The exception is El Comercio Group, the economically strongest and most diversified of all, which has a presence in such diverse sectors as education, real estate, printing and entertainment in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia. However, the data gathered show that major shareholders, board members, senior management executives as well as journalists have widespread business ties across the country.
Media outlets in Peru were not found to be affiliated to any political parties on the national level.
- Transparency issues and the impact of audience measurement
One of the biggest problems of the MOM project’s investigation in Peru was the lack of transparency concerning the ownership of some media outlets