The British Media Landscape By Kerryn Wotton Justyna Rozycka Elena Mattioli the audiovisual media

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The British Media Landscape
By Kerryn Wotton

Justyna Rozycka

Elena Mattioli

A licence fee is required to own a television in the UK and the money from this goes to the BBC, enabling it to be a public service corporation and freeing it from advertisements.

The BBC hold the main slice of the market in terms of broadcasting media.

They run two terrestrial, or free to view, television channels and a further seven digital channels.

The two terrestrial channels, BBC 1 and BBC 2, are based on public service broadcasting ethics and air news, entertainment and informative programs.

These two channels have national and regional subdivisions, which means that certain broadcasting timetables are different in different parts of the UK and that both local and national news stories are aired.

The six o’clock news averages at 4.7 million viewers and, since the competitor dropped their own 10 o’clock news slot, this averages at 4.9 million viewers.

The digital BBC News 24 is a highly respected news source, though ratings still fall behind those of Sky News, for example during the Beslan school siege BBC 24 broadcast to 4.5 million viewers, while Sky News stayed ahead at 4.7 million.

The BBC also run or have joint ventures with other companies around the world, such as BBC Canada and Animal Planet.

The BBC’s competition on terrestrial networks comes from Independent Television, or ITV. An average of 45 million people in Britain watch ITV each week and it has the largest program budget of any commercial channel in Europe. This contributes towards a mixture of news, entertainment and programming similar to that of the BBC.
ITV is made up of 15 regional licenses, each with its own conditions and programs reflecting the region and interests of the viewers.

ITV plc owns 12 of these licenses, the remainders are owned by SMG, Ulster and Channel.

ITV also own three digital channels; ITV2, ITV3 and ITV News. ITV2 was the fastest growing digital channel in the UK in 2003 and airs entertainment and sport, as well as popular ITV1 programs.

ITV3 is drama based and also covers programs similar to those on ITV1 and 2.

As with BBC News 24, the ITV News channel is a rolling 24-hour news service, using popular presenters, interviews and current affairs programs.
The UK also has two other terrestrial channels; Channel 4 and Channel 5. These are also funded by advertising and commercial activities, and while they also air traditional public service programming, they also appeal to minority interests, with more cultural and entertainment based programs.

The Channel 4 Group also own digital channels, such as E4, an entertainment channel, E4+1 and three film channels and more than three quarters of the UK’s population watch theses services each week.

Channel 5 is the newest of the channels and had 6.5% of viewers last year, an average of 41 million per month.
There is a separate fourth channel in Wales, Sianel Pedwar Cymru, or S4C, which is partly funded by the state and partly by advertising.

There are also two digital channels: S4C Digital and S4C2. S4C2 covers the Welsh National Assembly.

In total, about 90% of the British population watch the free to view terrestrial channels, and in homes with access to digital programs nearly two thirds of viewing is of these channels.

In terms of radio the BBC run four national stations in England, separate national stations for Scotland and Wales and more than 40 local radio stations. They also have World Service, which broadcasts news and information in 43 different languages.

There are five BBC owned digital radio channels and the radio news alone boasts 23 million listeners per week.

The most popular news program on BBC radio is the Today program, broadcasted by Radio 4, which is aired at 6am and sets the agenda for the news for the entire day. On average the program reaches 6.2 million people.

Radio is listened to by about 92% of the population during the day and the BBC national station reach more than twice as many people as the commercial stations. The BBC have about 40% of the radio audience, where as the commercial stations have just 8%.

Although this is good in terms of national stations, BBC’s local services aren’t as popular and local commercial stations are three times as popular as local BBC stations. There are currently 17 regional stations, covering multi-county areas.

Ofcom is the main regulator, responsible for television, radio, telecommunications and communications services in the UK

When it was introduced in 2003, Ofcom replaced five regulators: The Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radio Communications Agency.

This aim was to have one single regulatory body in charge of assessing the portrayal of violence and sexual conduct, issues of taste and decency and complaints in both publicly owned media and commercial television and radio stations.

The ASA is an independent body responsible for policing advertising and the rules laid down in advertising codes.

The media is highly regulated in the UK, so these bodies are necessary to account for, or prevent, any wrong doings.
Also for television programs, there is also the British Broadcasting Comission (BCC), which is responsible for taste and decency, and the BBC have introduced its own feedback and accountability website, called NewsWatch, which aims are to deal with complaints, suggestions and corrections. Channel 4 previously aired a program called Right to Reply, where viewers could voice their opinions and complaints, however this was axed in 2001.
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) operates a self-regulatory system for the media, by using a code of practice to be abided by the press. The PCC hears complaints and publishes its findings, it also asks newspapers to publish corrections and apologies.
The main regulation system for the media in the UK is general law. Over 150 pieces of legislation is relevant to the media and litigation is a popular method of bringing the media to account. For example, if a newspaper were to report something defamatory about a person, the person could then sue the person for defamation.
As with the BBC website, some newspapers such as The Guardian, introduce their own accountability systems. The Guardian have a ‘readers editor’ who is responsible for publishing corrections and commenting on complaints.
Online newspapers are very popular with British readers, the first online newspaper was published in 1994 and was the Electronic Telegraph.

Nowadays almost every newspaper has its equivalent online, as it seems to increase the number of readers, though half the online readers do not buy the paper edition. An example of this is The Guardian online newspaper, which has over a million users.

This problem was solved by many companies by only publishing a small number of stories on the website, or sometimes even jus the front page. The Independent online requests payment for some of its online articles as a way to make up for funds it may have lost through publishing other articles. Other online newspapers require you to be a registered user, which enables them to advertise more directly.

The BBC’s website is the most visited in Europe and hold information ranging from history resources to global weather guides.

53% of British households have converted to digital television. The Government is aiming to end all analogue television broadcasts by 2010, as long as over 95% of homes have converted to digital.

Digital television is a partnership between government, broadcasters, industry and consumer groups. BBC itself it's enhancing its programs in order to exploit the new possibilities of television services, such as its educational channels.

The benefits of digital is an increased choice of channels, a number of which are free-to-air, interactive services, including home shopping, home banking, e-mail, internet access as well as improved pictures and quality
Reuters was founded in 1851 by Paul Julius. Reuters was a German born immigrant, who opened an office in the city of London which transmitted stock market questions between London and Paris via the new Dover - Calais cable.

Two years earlier he had used pigeons to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels, a service which operated for a year until the gap in the telegraph was closed.

Reuters services developed really fast in the EU and in the United States; in 1865 it was the first agency that gave the new of Lincoln’s assassination in the us.

Reuters reached far east in 1872 and South America in 1874; after great technological improvements, Reuters pioneered radio for transmitting news internationally in 1923 and a few years after it started using teleprinters in order to distribute news to all London newspapers. in 1925 the UK press agency took majority holding in 1914 it became a private company in order to avoid political pressures from the British government. In the latter 20th century it started to focus its services towards the economical world mostly.

It was founded in 1868 by a group of provincial daily newspapers proprietors in order to provide a fast and accurate news information service to its members. they wanted to provide a London-based service of news collecting and reporting with correspondent in all major towns. "The PA is formed on the principle of co-operation and can never be worked for individual profit, or become exclusive in its character”

Written press in UK is divided into two main groups: tabloids and broadsheet. This is divided into two main markets, ‘popular’ and ‘quality’ press, as well as a fading market – the ‘middle’ press.

The Sun, with a 3.5million circulation, is the most popular tabloid, closely followed by The Mirror and The Mail.

The UK also has both regional and local newspapers. There are about 90 regional morning and evening titles, and six Sunday papers. While regional morning and evening circulations have fallen over the past 25 years, there has been something of a resurgence in Sunday papers since the late 1980s with the launch of a number of new titles. More recently, the sales of morning and evening papers have been quite buoyant.

Sales of regional newspapers vary considerably - from the 612,000 of the Sunday Post in Scotland to less than 29,000 (the daily Express and Echo in Exeter, England). The largest selling evening newspaper is the (Wolverhampton, England) Express and Star (just under 180,000 copies). The biggest selling morning paper is the (Glasgow, Scotland) Herald

(slightly fewer than 96,000 copies). About 80 per cent of people in the UK read a regional/local paper. The entire national press is owned by few companies, of which the largest are: News International, Trinity Mirror, Daily Mail and General Trust plc, Independent News and Media plc, Guardian Media group, Pearson, Telegraph Group Limited.
News International is the main UK subsidiary of the News Corporation Limited, which is the world’s leading publisher of English-language newspapers with operations in the UK, Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and US. The company publishes more than 175 different newspapers, employing approximately. 15,000 people worldwide and printing more than 40 million papers a week. The chairman and Chief Executive Officer for New Corporation is K.Rupert Murdoch, who owns such titles as: The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, Times’ supplements, as: Times Higher Education Supplement, Times Literary Supplement, TSL Education and The News of the world. News Internationalhas 37% share of daily and 39% share of Sunday newsapaper sales. They stay on the right wing from the centre.
Trinity Mirror is the UK’s biggest newspaper publisher. The Group employs around 11,500 staff and produces some 250 titles. The company’s varied media base includes national and regional newspapers, websites, magazines and exhibitions. Nearly half the population reads one of their titles, which include one of the world’s most famous newsapaper brands, the Daily Mirror and 3 of the top 10 regional evening newspapers and 3 of the top 10 regional Sunday newspapers. For the National newspapers there are 2 operating business: MGN Ltd, which publishes the Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The People (all of them are tabloids) and Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd which publishes Scottish nationals, as the Daily Records and Sunday Mail. There are 240 regional newspapers, owned by Trinity Mirror, each with a strong, trusted and local brand. The regionals division has 10 operating businesses whose titles account for almost 25% of the regional newspaper market. The share of national newspaper circulation of Trinity Mirror is 23%.
Guardian Media Group is another multi-media business, wholly owned by the Scott Trust. It publishes left wing national newspapers, as The Guardian, The Observer, Guardian Europe, Money Observer( financial monthly magazine), Guardian News Services. There are also over 40 paid and free titles publishes from four regional centres. Readership of regional and local newspapers and magazines totals nearly 3 mln copies per week. The share of national circulation is 3 %.Daily Mail and General Trust plc have a share of newspaper circulation of 13%, excluding Metro.
Independent News and Media plc is a leading international media and communications group, with interest in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and UK. The Group publishes over 165 newspaper and magazines titles with a weekly circulation of over 13,5 mln copies. The Telegraph Group Ltd is a newspaper publisher, which publishes The

Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Weekly Telegraph. In the UK, the group also owns the Spectator and also has major titles in Canada, Australia and Israel.

Talking about the developments in media we can point out many cases, like the new approaches to the mass media, law regulations, technological solutions, media regulation and convergence, also, from a technical side, the way websites are constructed is constantly being changed to cater for users with disabilities. Websites are now easier to access for people with visual or hearing related problems.
A significant development has been the change in size from some broadsheet newspapers to the tabloid size.

The Independent and The Times have both introduced this and have seen their circulation rise as a result, despite fears that the news would itself become ‘tabloidised’.

In the UK the mass media have always been closely regulated; the increasing consolidation of media corporations has been a small number of players wielding huge economic power to gain control the media market.

The mass media are converging, coming together. This is due to the pace of technological change, rather than any strategy on the part of media corporation managements. Recent developments in the cost, quality and quantity of media outlets. Multimedia digital technologies have brought huge changes, over the last 10 to 15 years in the way that computers are used. Over the next 5 to 10 years most broadcast media will transfer to digital systems.

There’s a fear, that as the media converge and ownership becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the media will, cease to cover issues outside the mainstream. Pressures from sponsors or advertisers could limit editors’ freedom to cover issues of concern to civil society campaigners. On the other hand, digital technology could enable new, low-budget forms of media based around web radio and TV broadcasting. Those with interests within mainstream politics and the larger media corporation often perceive the rise of such alternative media as a threat to their hegemony.
There are several media organizations in UK, but in this article, they are only mentioned.

The main employers' organisations are the British Media Industry Group (a lobbying organisation established by major print companies); Cable

Communications Association (covering the cable TV industry); Commercial

Radio Companies' Association; ITV Network Centre; National Association


Press Agencies; Newspaper Publishers' Association (national newspaper

sector); Newspaper Society (regional and local newspapers); PACT

(independent producers); Periodical Publishers' Association


Publishers' Association (books); Scottish Daily Newspaper Society and

Scottish Newspapers Publishers' Association.
Some of the major industry bodies are: Audit Bureau of Circulations;


Trust; Commonwealth Broadcasting Association; Commonwealth Press Union;

Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb); Institute of Local

Television; National Readership Surveys; Radio Joint Audience Research;

Royal Television Society. The International Federation of the


Press (FIPP) is based in London.

For example, Common Press Union is an association whose members are

newspaper groups ( some with several hundred newspapers), newspapers


news agencies in 49 countries of the commonwealth. These are


with the CPU by their proprietors, publishers or senior executives. The

members of Audit Bureau of Circulations are not only newspapers


and proprietors, but advertisers, advertising agencies, consumer

exhibitions, consumer magazines, national newspaper, Trade exhibitions,

Internet Publications, Membership Aplications as well.
The major occupational/professional groups are: Association of British

Editors; British Society of Magazine Editors; Commonwealth Journalists'

Association; Directors' Guild of Great Britain; Guild of Editors; Media

Society; Radio Academy; Women in Journalism.

The main trade unions are: Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph


Theatre Union (Bectu); Chartered Institute of Journalists (IoJ);

Federation of Entertainment Unions; Graphical, Paper and Media Union;

National Union of Journalists (NUJ).



Channel 4

Channel 5
The Sun

The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mail

The Star

The Express

The Guardian

The Times

The Independent

The Daily Telegraph

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