Media outlets in Serbia are mostly privately owned, although there are a few examples where the state still has significant ownership, such as Politika and Vecernje Novosti. Some media, mostly print, are owned by journalists while others are in the hands of businessmen and media groups.
When it comes to print, there are two major media groups, Ringier Axel Springer which owns Blic, NIN and until recently Alo, and Adria Media Group, which controls Kurir and Newsweek, among others. The same media groups also own some of the most visited news websites such as blic.rs, kurir.rs and espreso.rs.
In the sphere of electronic media, ownership concentration is higher that in other areas of the media arena. Antena Group, Pink Media Group and the Public Broadcasting Service hold more than 50% of the audience share. Meanwhile, N1 television is owned by United group, the largest telecom provider in the region.
Three companies - S Media Team, Maxim Media and the Public Broadcasting Service - hold around 40% of the audience share in radio. Meanwhile, in online media world, most of the influential websites are owned by companies who already own media outlets in other sectors.
Perhaps the main characteristic of media ownership in Serbia is that while on paper everything often looks relatively clear and simple, in practice it is often not the case. Despite the fact that most media are privately owned, ruling elites have huge leverage over the media – through control of advertising, influence over their owners and a multitude of other factors – with the consequence that, despite the diversity of private ownership, editorial policies often appear very similar in their avoidance of criticising those in power.