Media ownership in Argentina is part of a system that goes beyond businesspeople and economic groups. The current political and economic situation, the emergence of new technological platforms and the changes in current legislation are also elements of the complex system in which media operate.
Like in other countries, media in Argentina emerged out of a political motivation: the first newspapers were founded in 1800 to promote a debate that would eventually help consolidate Argentina’s independence from the Spanish Crown. Overtime, Argentinian massive print media outlets started to show their political preferences in a less direct way, though their ties with the political power have remained intact. In fact, former Presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández and current President Mauricio Macri, though using different styles, have considered that those media outlets that oppose their policies are public enemies.
The changes in audiovisual communication legislation, which had been postponed since the 1980s, during the military dictatorship, also have put media at the center of the public agenda in recent years. Although legislation was designed to limit concentration and promote pluralism, its failed enforcement and subsequent amendments have transformed it into a tool to favor or punish media groups based on their relationship with the government in office.
From an economic perspective, the global crisis faced by traditional media has added to the local economic crisis and the absence of State policies to reduce its effects. All this has led to a declining media system, with smaller audiences and less revenue from advertising, marked by dismissals and close-downs.
In a country with over 44 million inhabitants, TV continues to be the medium with the highest penetration levels (95.8% of the population watched TV in 2017), though consumption rates in other supports are also high when compared to other Latin American countries.