In the past few years Hungarian media has experienced a spate of changes. Some prominent multinational media and media-related companies such as telecommunication companies and advertising agencies relocated their capital from Hungary and sold their assets in the country to local businessmen and oligarchs, many of whom are linked to political groups. CMDS aims to investigate who owns Hungarian media and how and to what extent these changes in ownership affect the public sphere, media pluralism and freedom of press.
To achieve that, CMDS will collect data on ownership, revenues, state advertising spending, readership and viewership through a project that would entail collaboration with research companies and professional data providers. The Ownership Project is envisaged to be an online tool for tracking changes in Hungarian media ownership with the aim of bringing about insights into those who operate and own Hungarian media companies. This tool can also be used for measuring impact and influence of these owners and their media and to become a basis for research and for informed policy-making decisions by regulatory bodies.
The final product will be an open source online, network-visualization-based tool where everyone could easily see the changes in the ownership that took place every year after 1989. The tool would allow for searching and filtering these media according to political groups, owners, nationality, company and media type, and year. The network would be changeable according to revenues, income, state advertising revenues and reach of the public. This tool would be publicly accessible and it is expected to become a useful tool for media researchers as well as regulators and decisions-makers in Hungary. Recognizing the significance of the issue of ownership and revenue in other contexts as well, the developed tool will be open source and as such, easily applicable to other media markets.