Remarkably, but perhaps not surprisingly, just three companies now control 90% of the UK national newspaper market, with two men holding the reins for more than two-thirds of the UK's print newspaper market – Lord Rothermere and Rupert Murdoch.
The dominance by just three companies – the third is Reach – emerges in an analysis by Press Gazette, whose editor-in-chief, Dominic Ponsford, comments: 'And I would not bet against further consolidation in the near future in the wake of the creative destruction wrought by coronavirus'.
It's 124 years since the Harmsworth family bought the Daily Mail
and today they dominate the UK national newspaper market. Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) now has 38% of the UK's national print newspaper market and combined monthly digital and print reach for its brands of 76.9 million. Relative newcomer, Rupert Murdoch, who bought The Sun
in 1968, and also owns The Times
and the Sunday Times
, has 33% of the market via News UK.
Lord Rothermere's DMGT which owns the Daily Mail
, Mail on Sunday
titles, is the largest national newspaper group in terms of revenue, print circulation and the combined monthly reach of its newsbrands (print readership and online traffic). DMGT claims a 38% share of the UK national print newspaper market across its four titles (ABC figures for each title combined), followed by Murdoch's News UK.
The Daily Mail
overtook The Sun
to become the UK's bestselling daily newspaper in May, a title that had been held by The Sun
for more than 40 years since its rise to the top under Murdoch's ownership. And the Mail on Sunday
has overtaken The Sun on Sunday
to become the UK's top-selling Sunday title.
There are now six major newspaper publishers in the UK – DMGT, News UK, Reach, the Financial Times (FT), Telegraph Media Group (TMG) and Guardian Media Group (GMG). Between them, they own all 20 paid-for daily and Sunday national print titles. Reach, which owns Scotland's Daily Record
and Sunday Mail
, controls the most national newspapers with seven titles. According to the latest available accounts, it is also the most profitable of the three dominant companies. Reach, DMGT and News UK own 90% of the national daily and Sunday print newspaper market.
Here are the financials of the top six, based on 2019 figures except for TMG and the FT which are for 2018:
DMGT: Turnover – £1.3 billion. Profit/loss – £134 million profit
News UK: Turnover – £750.2 million. Profit/loss – £64.1 million loss
Reach: Turnover – £702.5 million. Profit/loss – £150.6 million profit
FT: Turnover – £323.6 million. Profit/loss – £8.2 million profit
TMG: Turnover – £271.4 million. Profit/loss – £0.9 million profit
GMG: Turnover – £224.5 million. Profit/loss – £30.8 million profit
daily newspaper is supporting a major new project to tackle under-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic women in the Scottish media. It is part of a Pass the Mic Scotland initiative, which runs for a year and will enable the expert opinion of 20 to 30 women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to be included in articles.
The project is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and four 'women of colour' will write for The Courier
. Meantime, Pass the Mic Scotland has compiled a list of 130 experts including teachers, medics, equality campaigners, economists, scientists, artists and authors.
Talat Yaqoob, founder of Pass the Mic Scotland, said the project is an exciting step in the worldwide effort to tackle racism and exclusion. She said: 'Media is hugely influential across our society, and, as such, it is important that those who take part in it, whether presenting the news, being interviewed or writing opinion pieces, are representative of Scotland's diversity... However, women of colour continue to be grossly under-represented. The purpose of this project is to make a tangible difference and to amplify the voices of women of colour in Scotland. The project includes highly experienced nurses, artists, scientists, carers, campaigners and more, all of whom have expertise which should be part of our media and who should be in the phone books of more journalists. We hope the partnership with The Courier
goes some way to tackling under-representation and sharing a more diverse set of voices'.
editor, David Clegg, said: 'We are delighted to be taking part in this important project and to have the opportunity to continue to bring a diverse and varied range of expert voices to readers of The Courier
in print and online'.
As part of the project, an online directory has also been set up for journalists seeking comment from black, Asian and ethnic minority women for stories. Press Gazette, which runs the British Journalism Awards, has launched a new award aimed at recognising up-and-coming ethnic minority journalists, named in honour of the UK's first black on-screen TV news reporter – Barbara Blake-Hannah. Having worked for Thames TV and ATV, Blake-Hannah returned home to Jamaica, recalling: 'As a black person 50 years ago you were accustomed to the fact you were not going to be liked. You had to choose whether to live with it or not. After eight years I chose not to live with it'.
The BBC's new Director-General, Tim Davie, is understood to be instigating a major clampdown on high-profile news and current affairs staff over their use of social media and work for outside organisations.
In a bid to strengthen the corporation's rules of impartiality, he declared: 'To be clear, this is not about abandoning democratic values such as championing fair debate or an abhorrence of racism. But it is about being free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda... If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC... We'll take action in coming weeks, but to be clear, there will be new guidance on how we best deliver our impartiality guideline; new social media rules, which will be rigorously enforced; and clearer direction on the declaration of external interests'.
It is understood that there is concern that news and current affairs 'stars' are using their high public profiles to do lucrative work for commercial organisations. It is suggested that fees of up to £25,000 can be earned for after dinner speaking. The Daily Mail
reported that BBC Breakfast
presenter, Naga Munchetty, who earns around £190,000 a year, was evidently recently warned by the BBC about her decision to appear in a public relations video for Aston Martin amid concerns it could risk a 'conflict of interest'.
According to the Mail
: 'It is understood Mr Davie wants to "get a grip" of the issue and that the idea of a public register where stars have to declare their outside work is in the mix. However, new rules on the use of Twitter and other social media are unlikely to apply to the BBC's freelance staff such as the corporation's highest-paid performers – sports presenter, Gary Lineker, and Springwatch
presenter, Chris Packham'. On Lineker, a BBC spokesman told the Daily Mail
: '[Lineker] is not involved in any news or political output for the BBC and, as such, any expression of his personal political views does not affect the BBC's impartiality'.
Readers of the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press
will be able to once again get a print edition of their weekly newspaper next week for the first time in months – and the first edition will be free to mark the milestone. The Free Press
had temporarily ceased publication back in April because of the COVID-19 crisis but is set to come back on Thursday 17 September – a new publication date for the paper, which previously came out on Wednesdays.
reporter, Jennifer Jones, told media website HoldTheFrontPage: 'The last few weeks especially, we've had increased messages of support and well wishes for the print edition coming back. It is great to be able to say we are back at our desks and the next edition will be coming out next week. Moving the print date back a day allows the reporting staff to include elements that they had been unable to cover fully since printing moved from in-house to Cambuslang. This will include increased coverage of the courts and sport'.
Jennifer added: 'Traditionally off stone has been a Wednesday, and people still queue at the door for the paper when it arrives from Glasgow. But the new set-up will give us a chance to spend more time on stories that happen mid-week'.