We have produced a number of reports about media ownership in the UK:
Our new 2023 report highlights the ongoing crisis of concentrated media ownership across the UK’s media industries. Updating figures from our 2021 and 2019 reports, including an expanded analysis of online intermediaries and ‘Big Tech’, the 2023 report demonstrates the urgent need to break up corporate media domination of the UK’s newspapers, TV and radio, streaming services and online platforms.
Among other revelations, the 2023 report shows that 3 companies (News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach) control 90% of daily national newspaper circulation. These same three companies account for more than 40% of the total audience reach of the UK’s top 50 online newsbrands. The significant influence of a handful of ‘Big Tech’ companies is also a major cause for alarm: 10 of the top 15 online platforms used to access news in the UK are owned by Meta, Alphabet and X Corp (owners of Twitter/X).
Our 2021 report featured updated data and analysis from the 2019 and 2015 reports. It demonstrated the continuing concentration of media ownership in the UK.
Among other revelations, the 2021 report showed that 3 companies (News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach) dominated an even larger share of national newspaper circulation – rising from 71% in 2015 to 90% in 2021. Including online readers, these same companies still dominated 80% of the market.
This is a revised version of the ownership report that we first produced in 2015. We take a broad and holistic view of media ownership in the UK. Although our analysis of publishing (both print and online) is restricted to news, we examine the ownership structure of television and radio across the board, and include a section on digital platforms and intermediaries. While there has been a huge amount of activity in the media – with falling levels of trust in journalism, the further decline of national newspaper circulation, the rise of new sources of news, declining audiences for linear television and the emergence of debates around ‘fake news’ – broader patterns around concentrated ownership persist and, indeed, the situation is getting worse.
A summary of the main report.
Local newspapers, websites and associated apps are read by 40 million people a week, enjoy a
high level of trust from their readers and are the lifeblood of local democracy.
It is local journalists who break important stories, often with a national significance, as well as providing readers with vital, entertaining local information. They hold local politicians and businesses to account.
They write human interest stories about the young girl with cancer who raised money for charity or the real ale fans who saved the local pub from the property developers – supplying part of the glue which holds local communities together. Yet, the sector is in crisis.
A comprehensive report on media ownership in the UK.
What does it mean to have a ‘free’ media when the nation’s TV channels, news
outlets, radio stations, search engines and social media platforms are owned
by a handful of giant corporations? What does it mean to have ‘independent
media’ when many of our most influential media organisations are controlled by
individuals and Boards that are so closely connected with vested interests?
A report on media ownership in the UK and the case for pluralism (produced jointly by MRC, NUJ,TUC and CPBF in November 2014)
Read the Report
A survey of UK media ownership: Media ownership has long been the ‘elephant in the room’ when it comes to analysis of the state of our media: obvious to all but rarely discussed. We view it as crucial to the health of the press, and therefore of a functioning democracy, that the news and views consumed by the public are spread across a sufficient range of independent providers.