Media of the United Kingdom


Media of the United Kingdom
Broadcasting House in London, headquarters of the BBC

Media of the United Kingdom consist of several different types of communications media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Web sites. The UK also has a strong music industry. The UK has a diverse range of providers, the most prominent being principle public service broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The BBC's competitors include ITV plc, which operates 11 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network. News Corporation, who operate a number of leader national newspapers through News International such as The Sun and The Times as well as holding a large stake in satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting and various other media holdings. Regional media is covered by local radio, television and print newspapers. Trinity Mirror operate 240 local and regional newspapers in the UK, as well as national newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror.

Contents

Audiences

In 2009 it was estimated that individuals viewed a mean of 3.75 hours of television per day and 2.81 hours of radio. The main BBC channels accounted for and estimated 28.4% of all television viewing; the three main independent channels accounted for 29.5% and the increasingly important other satellite and digital channels for the remaining 42.1%.[1] Sales of newspapers have fallen since the 1970s and in 2009 42% of people reported reading a daily national newspaper.[2] In 2010 82.5% of the UK population were Internet users, the highest proportion amongst the 20 countries with the largest total number of users in that year.[3]

Media centres and organisations

London dominates the media sector in the UK: national newspapers and television and radio are largely based there, although Manchester is also a significant national media centre. Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Cardiff, are important centres of newspaper and broadcasting production in Scotland and Wales respectively.[4]

The BBC, founded in 1922, is the UK's publicly funded radio, television and Internet broadcasting corporation, and is the oldest and largest broadcaster in the world. It operates numerous television and radio stations in the UK and abroad and its domestic services are funded by the television licence.[5][6] Other major players in the UK media include ITV plc, which operates 11 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network,[7] and News Corporation, which owns a number of national newspapers through News International such as the most popular tabloid The Sun and the longest-established daily "broadsheet" The Times,[8] as well as holding a large stake in satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting.[9]

Print

The UK publishing sector, including books, directories and databases, journals, magazines and business media, newspapers and news agencies, has a combined turnover of around £20 billion and employs around 167,000 people.[10]

Newspapers

Traditionally British newspapers have been divided into "quality", serious-minded newspapers (usually referred to as "broadsheets" because of their large size) and the more populist, "tabloid" varieties. For convenience of reading many traditional broadsheets have switched to a more compact-sized format, traditionally used by tabloids. In 2008 The Sun had the highest circulation of any daily newspaper in the UK at 3.1 million, approximately a quarter of the market.[11] Its sister paper, the News of the World, had the highest circulation in the Sunday newspaper market,[11] and traditionally focused on celebrity-led stories until its closure in 2011.[12] The Daily Telegraph, a centre-right broadsheet paper, is the highest-selling of the "quality" newspapers.[11] The Guardian is a more liberal "quality" broadsheet and the Financial Times is the main business newspaper, printed on distinctive salmon-pink broadsheet paper.[13] Trinity Mirror operate 240 local and regional newspapers in the UK, as well as national newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror.[14]

Scotland has a distinct tradition of newspaper readership (see list of newspapers in Scotland). The tabloid Daily Record has the highest circulation of any daily newspaper outselling The Scottish Sun by four to one while its sister paper, the Sunday Mail similarly leads the Sunday newspaper market. The leading "quality" daily newspaper in Scotland is The Herald, though it is the sister paper of The Scotsman, and the Scotland on Sunday that leads in the Sunday newspaper market.[15]

Magazines

A large range of magazines are sold in the UK covering most interests and potential topics. British magazines and journals that have achieved worldwide circulation include The Economist, Nature, and New Scientist, Private Eye, Hello!, The Spectator, the Radio Times and NME.

Broadcasting

Radio

Picture of a Truetone brand radio

Radio in the United Kingdom is dominated by the BBC, which operates radio stations both in the UK and abroad. The BBC World Service radio network is broadcast in 33 languages globally. Domestically the BBC also operates ten national networks and over 40 local radio stations including services in Welsh on BBC Radio Cymru, Gaelic on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal in Scotland and Irish in Northern Ireland.[16] The domestic services of the BBC are funded by the television licence.[17] The internationally targeted BBC World Service Radio is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, though from 2014 it will be funded by the television licence.[18] The most popular radio station by number of listeners is BBC Radio 2, closely followed by BBC Radio 1. Advances in digital radio technology have enabled the launch of several new stations by the Corporation.[19]

Rather than operating as independent entities, many commercial local radio stations are owned by large radio groups which broadcast a similar format to many areas. The largest operator of radio stations is Global Radio, owner of the major Heart and Galaxy radio brands. It also owns Classic FM and London's most popular commercial radio station, 95.8 CapitalFM. Other owners are UTV Radio, with stations broadcasting in large city areas and Bauer Radio, holding radio in the North of England. There are also regional stations, like Real Radio and the Century Network, broadcasting in some main parts of England, Wales and Scotland,[citation needed] and a number of licensed community radio stations which broadcast to local audiences.[citation needed]

Television

The Channel 4 building London

Analogue terrestrial television in the United Kingdom is made up of two chartered public broadcasting companies, the BBC and Channel 4 and two franchised commercial television companies, (ITV and Channel 5). There are five major nationwide television channels in the UK: BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5—currently transmitted by analogue and digital terrestrial, free-to-air signals with the latter three channels funded by commercial advertising. The UK now has a large number of digital terrestrial channels including a further six from the BBC, five from ITV and three from Channel 4, and one from S4C which is solely in Welsh, among a variety of others. The vast majority of digital cable television services are provided by Virgin Media with satellite television available from Freesat or British Sky Broadcasting and free-to-air digital terrestrial television by Freeview. The entire UK will switch to digital by 2012.[20]

The BBC operates several television channels both in the UK and abroad. The BBC's international television news service, BBC World News, is broadcast throughout the world. The domestic services of the BBC are funded by the television licence.[21] The international television broadcast services are operated by BBC Worldwide on a commercial subscription basis over cable and satellite services. This commercial arm of the BBC also forms half of UKTV along with Virgin Media.[22]

Channel 4 is similarly chartered to the BBC, with a remit to provide public service broadcasting and schools programs, however it runs commercial advertisements to provide a revenue stream. It produces a single analogue channel, currently branded as Channel 4.

The commercial operators rely on advertising for their revenue, and are run as commercial ventures, in contrast to the public service operators. The ITV franchise transmits the analogue channel known as ITV1 (in England, Wales, Scottish Borders, Isle of Man and Channel Islands), STV (In Central and Northern Scotland), and UTV in Northern Ireland. Channel 5 transmits one analogue channel.

All the major analogue broadcasters provide additional channels on the free-to-air Freeview digital television service, and all of these channels can be accessed via a cable or satellite provider, such as Virgin Media or BSkyB. The entire UK will switch to digital by 2012.[23]

Internet

The Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Internet in the United Kingdom is .uk. The most visited ".uk" websites are the British version of Google followed by BBC Online.[24]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Ofcom , 19 August 2010, pp. 97, 164 and 191, retrieved 17 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Social Trends: Lifestyles and social participation", Office for National Statistics, 16 February 2010, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVhuudFT .
  3. ^ "Top 20 countries with the highest number of Internet users", Internet World Stats, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVi9vpVQ .
  4. ^ D. William, UK Cities: A Look at Life and Major Cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Godfrey Mwakikagile, 2010), ISBN 9987160212, pp. 22, 46, 109 and 145.
  5. ^ Newswire7 (13 Aug 2009), "BBC: World's largest broadcaster & Most trusted media brand", Media Newsline, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVS8t2sR .
  6. ^ "TV Licence Fee: facts & figures", BBC Press Office, April 2010, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVSwSITq .
  7. ^ "Publications & Policies: The History of ITV", ITV.com, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVTPxDEI .
  8. ^ "Publishing", News Corporation, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVXpU10Z .
  9. ^ "Direct Broadcast Satellite Television", News Corporation, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVY0iZ5c .
  10. ^ "Publishing", Department of Culture, Media and Sport, archived from the original on 17 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zVhIk6SY .
  11. ^ a b c "ABCs: National daily newspaper circulation September 2008". The Guardian (UK). 10 October 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2008/oct/10/abcs-pressandpublishing. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  12. ^ Phone-hacking probe: 'Thank you & goodbye', says NoW, BBC News, 10 July 2011, retrieved 11 July 2011.
  13. ^ Lyall, Sarah (24 February 2010). "British Panel Condemns Media Group in Phone Hacking Case". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/world/europe/25britain.html. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Trinity Mirror plc: Annual Report and Accounts 2010", Trinity Mirror, 2010, archived from the original on 24 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zg4tyUdo .
  15. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (9 May 2008), "Scottish Sun pulls further ahead of Record", guardian.co.uk, archived from the original on 24 June 2011, http://www.webcitation.org/5zgFmbtev .
  16. ^ "News and Analysis in your language". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/languages/index.shtml. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "TV Licence Fee: facts & figures". BBC Press Office. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/keyfacts/stories/licencefee.shtml. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "BBC Funding Settlements: the details". OFCOMWATCH. October 2010. http://www.ofcomwatch.co.uk/2010/10/bbc-funding-settlement-the-details/. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "BBC7 radio launches with comedy", BBC News, 16 December, 2002, retrieved 10 July 2011.
  20. ^ "What is digital switchover". Directgov. December 2010. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/TechnologyInYourHome/DigitalTelevision/DG_10031292. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "TV Licence Fee: facts & figures". BBC Press Office. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/keyfacts/stories/licencefee.shtml. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "CHANNELS". BBC Worldwide. http://www.bbcworldwide.com/channels.aspx. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  23. ^ "What is digital switchover". Directgov. December 2010. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/TechnologyInYourHome/DigitalTelevision/DG_10031292. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  24. ^ "Top Sites in United Kingdom". Alexa. http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/GB. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 

Further reading

  • Harcourt, Alison (2006). European Union Institutions and the Regulation of Media Markets. London, New York: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0 7190 6644 1. 

Notes



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