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BRITISH MEDIA: THE PRESS, RADIO AND TELEVISION
Britain's first newspapers appeared over 300 years ago. Now, as then, newspapers receive do government support, unlike in some other European countries today. Advertising has always been a vital source of income. As long ago as 1660 King Charles II advertised in a newspaper for his lost dog. Today income from advertising is as big as income from sales. In 1995, for example. S 5.465 million was spent on press advertising, making the press by far the largest advertising medium in Britain.
There are approximately 130 daily and Sunday papers. 1.400 weekly papers and over 6.500 periodical publications. More newspapers are sold in Britain than in almost any other country. On average, two out of three people over the age of 15 read a national morning newspaper. National newspapers have a circulation of about 13 million on weekdays and 17 million on Sundays, but (he readership is twice this figure. The national newspapers, both on weekdays and on Sundays, fall into two broad categories: the 'popular' and 'quality' press.
Ownership of the press is in the hands of few large publishing groups. The most significant of these are News International, owned by the Australian-born press tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and the Mirror Groups. Private ownership affect the political viewpoint of most newspaper. Most owners are more sympathetic to a right or centre political viewpoint.
In 1936 the government established the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) lo provide a public service in radio. It also began broadcasting that year on (he recently invented television. At first solely through its agency, television and radio changed the entertainment habits and the culture of the nation. In 1955, however, the establishment of independent and commercial television and radio removed the BBC's broadcasting monopoly.
Commercial radio offers three nationwide services: Classic FM. which broadcasts mainly classical music. Virgin 1215, broadcasting popular music; and Talk Radio UK, a speech-based service In addition there arc 180 independent local radio stations which provide news, information, music and other entertainment, coverage of local events, sports commentary, chat shows and 'phone-in' programmes. They provide an important counselling service to isolated, aggrieved or perplexed people.
Television is the single most popular form of entertainment in Britain. In (he mid-1990s viewers spent on average over three and a half hours daily in front of the television set. Satellite broadcasting has been available since 1989. The major provider of satellite programmes is BskyB. Cable television was introduced in 1993 and currently has 1.3 million subscribers.
The strength of British television lies in its high quality. 'Go anywhere in the world," one leading political journalist has written, 'and British television is an object of envy and admiration... . The foundation of Britain's excellence in the Held of television is the tradition of public service broadcasting as upheld by the BBC Many involved in television, including foreigner living in Britain, claim that British television is the best in the world. Its export record and high audience ratings certainly suggest it is among the best. The reason lies in the quality of its innovation and its willingness to experiment. In the fields of documentary, comedy and satire, or drama. British television is a world leader.
Chapter analysis and discussion
a)) Which newspapers arc comparable to the main British tabloids and broadsheets?
Work in groups оf three or four and talk about the media
in our country. Answer the questions below.
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