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Should the majority of our media be owned by UK citizens?

You are here: Home / Blog / Politics / Should the majority of our media be owned by UK citizens?
21
Sep
First the confessions, I worked as a freelance for The Times in 1982-83 (Owned by NewsCorp) and for BSkyB (largest shareholder, NewsCorp) in 1995-97.

When Rupert Murdoch bought The Times he saved it; it has probably never made a profit. Is it a good newspaper? It is. His other stable mates The Sunday Times, the News of the World and The Sun have mostly recorded annual profits as do some of their web sites. 

When Rupert Murdoch established Sky in 1987-88 it was a huge financial risk. The UK media industry responded with the British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) in 1988 which lost £2billion+and was merged in 1991 with Sky to become BSkyB. The newly merged company was still losing £millions and £millions. Sam Chisholm was brought in from Australia to restructure the film deals and to win the rights to soccer. He did both with great skill and tenacity. The company duly floated and the debt assuaged. 

Sky has profoundly changed the media landscape in the UK. Even as late as 1998, ITV thought it could create a rival called ITV Digital but this too went the way of BSB with similar debts in 2002.  

BBC did not have a digital satellite policy and eventually were given two additional digital terrestrial channels for free BBC3 and BBC4. 

The whole distribution channel for information and entertainment will be distributed within five years by the internet. It therefore doesn't matter much then who owns i and where it coms from. And yet if w want a distinguished British vice then we have to ensure that a majority of its current media is owned by UK citizens. This is why the attempt by NewsCorp supported by the Tories to own BSkyB outright should be called in.


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