New structures but unchanged opposition dominance on the Hungarian media landscape

Based on international examples of Bertelsmann (RTL Group) or the The Scott Trust Limited a new independent non-profit media foundation, the Central European Press and Media Foundation (CEPMF) has kicked of its activities in Hungary.

Its aim is to provide an institutional framework for conservative outlets from all types of media – newspapers, websites, television and radio channels. Despite of having new structures in place the politically relevant Hungarian media landscape is still dominated by leftist/liberal outlets. As Hungary has a center-right conservative cabinet on power the above-mentioned findings in practice mean that the political opposition and their supportive media background enjoy more possibilities to reach out to the people and set the political agenda.

The data collected by the media analysis think tank Médianéző Center shows that the audience share of those outlets that are covered by the new foundation is significantly smaller compared to their leftist/liberal counterparts: 2.232.062 vs. 4.440.630 individuals – 33%-67% for the anti-government media. Even if we add those pro-government outlet’s potential that remained outside of CEPMF the numbers rise as high as 3.092.527 individuals that is still in minority (41% pro-government vs. 59% anti-government).

If we break down data to the different forms of mass media (television, radio, print, online) the findings are naturally similar. Out of the four segments there is only one where government-friendly media can reach more people with political news than the anti-government outlets and that is the print media industry: 72% vs. 28% for the center right media. We can find the exact opposite on the field of the online media where there is 29%-71% dominance for the anti-government websites. In the case of the politically relevant television programs the data shows a 46%-54% division in favor of the opposition media and 47% vs. 53% at the radio stations.

Data is collected from September-November 2018 by the Médianéző Center analyzing all major sources of media measurement databases available in Hungary (Nielsen, GEMIUS, MATESZ, Médiaász, SimilarWeb, etc.). The research focused only on the politically relevant outlets and leading television news programs excluding thematic (music, health, fashion, etc.) channels/print/online media and the public media.