Beyond the Public/Commercial Broadcaster Dichotomy: Homogenization and Melodramatization of News Coverage in Chile

Constanza Mujica, Ingrid Bachmann


Television studies have traditionally highlighted the differences between public and commercial broadcasters’ news coverage. Research also suggests that increases in commercial competition within oligopolistic television markets affects diversity, with public networks adopting features of commercial broadcasters. This article examines commercial news coverage in Chile based on the characteristics attributed to melodrama in the Latin American theoretical tradition. A content analysis of two constructed weeks of newscasts from four Chilean networks (one publicly owned, three commercial) suggests that changes in the competition context were related to a homogenization of the networks’ coverage and a general increase of melodramatic features. These results support the hypothesis that news coverage analysis must consider contextual factors, such as changes in rating leadership, beyond networks’ ownership structures.


television, news, journalism, melodrama, content analysis

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