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Local media assessments

1. Local Media Assessments (LMAs) have their origins in the Governments Digital Britain Interim Report. That report referred to local media groups views that the transition to digital business models required consolidation but that the current media merger regime did not take account of potential cross-media competition. Prompted by this report, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) conducted a Review of the Local and Regional Media Merger Regime.

2. The OFT subsequently concluded that the existing merger regime was flexible and evidence-based, and thus able to take into account the various considerations raised. Nonetheless, in recognition of the benefit available from Ofcom's knowledge of the media sector, the OFT proposed that in local media merger cases raising prima facie competition concerns, the OFT would ask Ofcom to provide them with an LMA. The OFTs revised Jurisdictional and Procedural Merger Guidance published in June 2009 confirmed this position.

3. LMAs are therefore a new element in the OFTs existing merger procedure. They are a more formalised way for Ofcom to assist the OFT in its assessment of mergers involving local media.

4. The Digital Britain Final Report, the OFTs Review of the Local and Regional Media Merger Regime and the OFTs new Jurisdictional and Procedural Merger Guidance each provide an indication of what issues future LMAs may cover. Ofcom has carried out further work in order to define in more detail the potential scope, the content and the process of conducting LMAs. In particular, Ofcom has asked economic consultants DotEcon to suggest how Ofcom might approach benefits to consumers in LMAs.

5. On 26 July 2010 Ofcom published its draft LMA Guidance for consultation. The consultation period ended on 20 September 2010. Having completed the consultation process, Ofcom is now publishing its final LMA Guidance, alongside a Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom (the MOU) in respect of LMAs, and a policy statement.

  • The LMA Guidance sets out Ofcoms approach to preparing LMAs in merger cases involving local media firms, both in terms of the process to be followed and procedure and the issues likely to be covered;
  • The MOU sets out the agreed working arrangements between the OFT and Ofcom;
  • The LMA Statement summarises Ofcoms work to date in relation to LMAs and sets out our response to the issues raised in the consultation process

In this section

Local Media Assessment cases

Links to Local Media Assessments carried out by Ofcom

Local Media Assessment Guidance

Publication date: 1 December 2010

Local Media Assessments Statement

Publication date: 1 December 2010

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