The Council of Ministers has said it will not progress with a proposal to make alterations to legislation which would’ve allowed Isle of Man Newspapers’ parent company to buy 3FM.
A public consultation into the proposed changes to the Broadcasting Act 1993 was held earlier this year, with 59% of respondents objecting.
Under the current legislation, newspapers are prohibited from holding more than 20% in a licensed broadcaster (a radio station).
Isle of Man Newspapers had approached CoMin to seek an amendment arguing that ‘the status quo could be considered out of date and that the proposed change would allow for consolidation in the media sector’. In the consultation, its parent company Tindle confirmed it was seeking to buy 3FM.
However, CoMin has now said: ‘Following consideration, the Council of Ministers has opted to not progress with any changes to the Broadcasting Act.’
Of the respondents, 31 identified as individuals, with a eight organisations also responding.
Amongst those to respond was the Tindle CI Broadcasting, a part of the wider Tindle Group. As well as confirming the proposed deal included 3FM, the company said the proposed legislation changes brought ‘significant’ benefits to islanders.
It added: ‘In a fast changing and ever more competitive media world, the sustainability and quality of indigenous local media on the Isle of Man will be secured by working in greater partnership.At present, audiences and revenues come under threat from the explosion of digital content from all over the World in a way unthinkable just a generation ago. Listeners and readers now consume content from a multitude of sources; and advertisers enjoy a range of fresh choices.’
Another respondent was a certain Manx Radio. The gov owned station said: ‘We have concerns that the proposed change would have an undue and disproportionate effect on the potential advertising revenue of the whole Isle of Man market, not just that of Manx Radio. The combined editorial and commercial might of the Island’s only newspaper group controlling one of its three national broadcasters, would be to the commercial detriment of not just the other two FM stations, but also all of the other Island based media both print and digital.’
Many respondents also made note of Manx Radio’s annual subvention from the Manx taxpayer and the position this gave it.