The Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications released its Interim Report on the Canadian News Media this month. The interim report stems from a study of media concentration that the standing committee began last April (CCR, April 25/03). An excerpt of the report appears below. As with newspapers and radio, there has been considerable consolidation of television station ownership over time. …The top five television ownership groups owned 68% of all private television stations in 2000, an increase of nearly 40% from 1970. It also shows that single-station ownership is a rarity today, with just six such enterprises in 2000. Viewing Share by Ownership In the early days of television, Canada’s conventional (i.e. over-the-air) television networks enjoyed impressive audience shares, ranging from 100% in the early years, to shares - depending upon the market in question - around 35% to 50%. …In 2002, the top ownership group by cumulative share was Bell Globemedia with 19.2%, CanWest Media (sic) was second at 14.7% and CHUM was third with a cumulative audience share of 7.6%. In Quebec, several notable trends can also be observed. Overall, nearly 71% of all television viewed in Quebec in 2002 was supplied by Canadian-owned broadcasting services. The lead ownership group, in terms of cumulative share, was Quebecor at 30.7%, CBC/Radio-Canada was second at 15.2% and Cogeco was third with a cumulative audience share of 14.2%. To sum up, the top three ownership groups in regions outside of Quebec had a cumulative audience share of about 42% in 2002; in Quebec, however, this same measure of market share stood at just over 60%… Next Steps This interim report has presented the results of our work to date. The committee…has heard from a large number of distinguished witnesses and has developed a comprehensive understanding of many of the issues facing Canada’s news media. While we have heard from many knowledgeable people, there are many we have not heard from. ...Several witnesses suggested that the news media could be improved through the use of a number of mechanisms involving either education in media literacy or enhanced education for journalists, including professional development opportunities during their career. The committee will be taking a more intense look at these suggestions and the possible arrangements that might be made to encourage such training and professional development. While some research has been done on many of these issues, witnesses pointed out that there is only limited evidence about the situation in Canada. For this reason, the committee will examine the possibility of funding specific, targeted research projects to further its work. One such study might be on the way Canadians in specific markets use the various sources of information available to them. Another study could examine the degree to which Canadians trust their media. A related topic that the committee will be examining is the reasons for the paucity of objective study about the situation in Canada. Is the problem related to the lack of an appropriate institution or organizations? Is it related to a lack of funding, a lack of interest, a lack of expertise or a lack of will? The committee heard testimony on a variety of topics, many of which have been discussed above. On some of the topics - such as, the impact of the Internet and changes to staffing and workloads of journalists at converged media firms - considerable further work is needed. In some cases, topics were raised for which further, more expert, analysis would be useful. In other cases, contrasting points of view remain to be heard (such as positions on staffing changes at consolidated firms). Finally, the committee wants to hear from the public across Canada. Public hearings are one way that the committee will be doing this. This is an interim report. While much has been accomplished, much remains to be done.