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14/09 13 February 2009
The OFT is today seeking views from interested stakeholders on the main scope of its review into the local and regional media sector.
In its recent Digital Britain Interim Report, the Government invited the OFT, together with Ofcom and other interested parties, to look into whether any change is needed in the merger regime regarding local and regional media – with a particular focus on print media.
Amelia Fletcher, Senior Director of Mergers, said: 'Local and regional media is an important part of the economy which is currently subject to a range of pressures. Initially we are asking for views on the key issues the review should focus on. Following this we will engage in detail on how the current media merger regime is operating in both protecting competition for relevant audiences and advertisers, and maintaining media plurality.'
The Government has informed the OFT that it would find it particularly helpful if the following issues could be considered when looking at the scope of the review:
All stakeholders wishing to submit initial comments on the key issues relevant to the scope of the review should respond by the 28 February 2009 to Ian Windle, 9C/12, Office of Fair Trading, Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4Y 8JX
Tel: 020 7211 5864 or email@example.com
Following this, interested parties will also have the chance to respond to a full discussion document on the Review which will be issued in mid-March. The OFT plans to complete the review by mid-April, and submit findings to Government to fit the timescale for the publication of the final Digital Britain Report which is due early summer 2009.
1. In light of the cross-departmental responsibilities which exist in the application of the media merger regime, there will be a Steering Group for the review comprising senior officials from the OFT, Ofcom, the Competition Commission, and the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
2. At the conclusion of its review, the OFT will report on the operation of the existing media merger regime to inform whether any changes to the regime may be desirable or necessary. Reflecting the exploratory nature of the review, the report may include recommendations for further work to be undertaken in this area.
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