Ofcom calls for media ownership rule change

Could make way for new round of U.K. media consolidation

LONDON -- U.K. media regulator Ofcom has recommended a radical shake-up of British media ownership rules that could open the door for a new round of media consolidation across local radio, newspapers and regional television.

The moves form part of a report by Ofcom for culture secretary Ben Bradshaw. If accepted, they would open the way for a single company to own all local commercial radio stations or a combination of more than 50% of the local newspapers in a regional market, a radio station and the ITV license for the area.

"These proposals would allow local media companies more flexibility to respond to the challenges that they are facing while at the same time protecting plurality for listeners and viewers," said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards. "It is for government and parliament to take any decisions in this area."

The Ofcom report forms part of a routine three-yearly review of legislation. There is no deadline for the parliament to respond.