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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Cracker from OFCOM

It looks as if OFCOM has been honking away at the anti-Murdoch pipe with a vengeance. This time - a staggering conclusion drawn on the news market:
Ofcom is concerned that there may not be a sufficient plurality of persons with control of the media enterprises serving the UK cross-media audiences for news and the UK TV audience for news.
This being OFCOMs justification of referring BSkyB's minority interest in ITV to the Competition Commission.

Looking at the market share for TV news:


Sky currently provides news to Five in addition to themselves. ITN provides news to ITV; ITV owns 40% of ITN.

Amazingly the market share for Radio News shows a similar dominant player:


Sky News apparently provide news to the equivalent of 10% of listeners. IRN (Independent Radio News) provides news to another % which is withheld for commercial reasons. ITN own 20% of IRN. ITV owns 40% of ITN.

The UK Newspaper market shows a completely different picture.


Interesting: no state subsidy, no dominant player.

OFCOM quotes data from an internal survey on the relative importance of each channel:


It is pretty obvious that most people use the TV as their main source of news. Interestingly the fastest growing distribution channel is the internet, where the dominant player is also the one with a state subsidy.


If there is really a problem with plurality in the provision of news, surely the only sensible remedy is to break up the huge market share that the BBC have in news provision?

Perhaps the optimal solution is to have outsourced independent producers for each news and distribution channel at the beeb? - including BBC1, BBC2, BBC News24, the various radio stations and the internet site - that would add tonnes of plurality.