In March 2019 the pressure group the Media Reform Group published a report called ‘Who owns the UK media?’ We might think that the proliferation of online media sources available to us today lessens the importance of traditional questions around media ownership, but the report contends that we can hardly claim to have a ‘free’ media when the nation’s social media platforms, TV channels, news outlets and search engines are largely owned by a handful of giant corporations.
Media ownership concentration has long concerned sociologists. The report shows, for example, that just three companies (News UK, DMG and Reach) dominate ownership of 83% of the national newspaper market in the UK (up from 71% in 2015). This market is shrinking in terms of print circulation but, assisted by their large online audiences, it remains crucial when it comes to agenda setting for the rest of the news media (see Table 1).
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