Dwayne Winseck December 2, 2015
The whole purpose of the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project is to offer an independent academic, theoretically-informed, empirical and data-driven analysis of a deceptively simple yet profoundly important question: have telecom, media and internet markets become more concentrated over time, or less? It is also to apply the same kind of approach to a broader analysis of all the core elements the make up the telecoms-internet and media industries in Canada.
We want to encourage others to dig as deeply into these issues as possible. And to help facilitate that, we are making the entire dataset underpinning the CMCR Project available for download and use under Creative Commons terms for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution and in line with the ShareAlike principles set out in the International License 4.0. In other words, you can download the data and use it for free, so long as you don’t turn around and lock it down for commercial or other reasons of your own.
As a matter of fact, there is not just one dataset but rather three:
- one that covers the telecoms-internet and media industries across Canada as a whole (linked to above);
- a second that covers just the predominantly English-language speaking regions of the country and which can be downloaded here;
- and lastly a third that covers matters in the mainly French-speaking regions, essentially Quebec, is available here.
The decision was not easy, and there was a lot of hesitance about ‘giving away the farm’. However, in the end, we decided to take this course of action because we think that striving for the best understanding possible of the state of the telecoms-internet and media industries in Canada is only going to happen when more people work on the issues.
In addition, and also as we often say, underpinning the whole effort is the idea that we are living in a constitutive moment – a critical juncture (Starr, 2004; McChesney, 2014) — when choices made now or in the near future will likely have strong cumulative effects on the type of communications and media ecology that we will get and have to live with for a long time, perhaps for much of the rest of the 21st Century.
We are not just studying any old set of industries, markets, technologies, rules and regulations — ‘toasters with pictures’ as one well-placed industry wag once put it — but rather the forces that shape the communications environment in which more and more of our everyday lives are carried out in interaction with others, near and far, to say nothing of how the whole of the economy, politics, culture and society also increasingly depends on the communications and information infrastructure available to us.
Finally, we are releasing the entire database into the wild in the hope that with more eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. So, if you see something that doesn’t look quite right, or is otherwise perplexing, please let us know.
While we are at it, you may also find a recent poster we created that depicts the top 20 or so telecom-internet and media companies in Canada, from Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus and Quebecor to Facebook, Google and Netflix of interest. You can find it here.