Media Owners

People spend a lot of their lives with the media. One way or another this time influences decisions we make. Whether we are reading about the parties' promises at election time, or perhaps being less consciously influenced by plot-lines in soap operas, shouldn't we be aware of who controls those media?

This site is a skeleton from which to hang debate over these issues. In how few hands is media ownership concentrated? What are the shapes of the networks and alliances? Whose policies most encourage monopolistic control of political and cultural information? Whose better encourage diversity and the rights of the authors - the people who actually "make" the stuff?

In short: Who are the media owners? What do they control? We're finding out, and here are two indexes to what we have discovered so far.

Who owns that?

We have 6485 titles, channels, and websites on file. Nearly half are UK-based, but media ownership is so globalised that we're inevitably working outward quite fast. Click on the link below to find a title.

* Media ownership - by title

Who are the owners?

We have lists of titles and channels by owner, and we've made a small start on researching cross-ownership shareholdings and so forth.

Some selected owners prominent in the UK
Owner name status
* Advance Publications Inc. Draft
* Associated / Northcliffe (DMGT) Draft
* The Barclay Brothers Draft
* BBC Draft
* Bertelsmann Draft
* Channel 4 Draft
* Channel 5 TV Draft
* Corbis Picture Library Draft
* Gannett Corporation Draft
* Getty Archive Draft
* Gruner and Jahr Current
* Guardian Media Group Draft
* Hachette Filipacchi Draft
* Haymarket Draft
* Herts & Essex Newspapers Draft
* Independent News & Media Draft
* Independent Television News Draft
* IPC Current
* Mecom plc Draft
* News International (Murdoch) Draft
* NewsQuest plc Current
* Ocean Media Group Draft
* Reader's Digest Association Draft
* Reed Business Information Draft
* RTL Group Draft
* Scottish Media Group Draft
* Sun-Times (formerly Hollinger International) Draft
* Time-Warner Current
* TSL Education Draft

Or if you are really curious...

* Full list of owners on file so far

Why us?

Why are journalists' organisations supporting this database? Aren't journalists part of "the media"? Yes, up to a point. But we are also some of the most intensive users of the media. And we are directly confronted with the effects of concentrated media ownership every working day. We believe we have a common interest with the public - or many publics, anyway - in documenting and challenging that concentration.

Part of that interest is, to be honest, financial. The more concentrated media ownership is, the easier it is for the owners to set the terms and conditions under which we work.

Another part is a matter of the broadest public concern. Around the world, media corporations are trying to gain outright ownership and control of the "information" which makes up news and published culture. This goes against the spirit of international law, which defines an unbreakable link between a piece of work and its creator (see the IFJ Authors' Rights for All section). In this view, individuals take responsibility for their work, and have rights to defend it against distortion.

"Trust us, we're journalists."

But how do you feel about living in a world where Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates own the first draft of history outright - with the right to change it?

And you?

Extending, updating and maintaining a database of the globalised network of media ownership looks like an obvious task for a global network of media ownership monitors. Might you be prepared to "adopt" an owner?

Update & © 19 August 2014 Mike Holderness