Daily Mail proposes news provision cap


As any media professional that regularly deals with the press knows only too well, the modern day news landscape is dominated by group ownership. Up until relatively recently this wasn’t much of a talking point, then Murdoch moved to take a majority stake in BSKYB and the subject became a heated debate.
The war of words continued, and last week Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), the publisher behind Daily Mail, and one of the country’s biggest media groups, stated that it believes a cap should be introduced on news provision. Around a 30 per cent limit would be a good idea, its spokespeople said, and perhaps most controversially amongst its peers, the BBC needs to be exempt from such rules.
The size of Britain’s most famous broadcaster has been the root of numerous disagreements of late. At the moment it controls over 40 per cent of the news available in the UK, and steps have been taken to restrict, and downsize this (with cuts taking place across platforms such as the World Service). As such it’s reassuring to see one of the key commercial rivals showing some degree of support.
It’s a gesture made a little more surprising when you learn that in the web world the Mail Online is now the most read English speaking news site, meaning the two organisations are in direct content competition. But if the BBC were taken out of the equation then News Corp would be the largest provider, wherein lies the real reason behind this display of solidarity from private to public media.
Should a deal go ahead between Murdoch’s News Corp and BSKYB, as was derailed in the wake of last year’s phone hacking scandal, then the combined share would breach the 30 per cent margin. Clearly then DMGT has a protectionist agenda, but what’s most important here is that what has been said does make sense- no single organisation should be given anything close to market dominance, though by nature the BBC serves people not politicians or business investors and therefore should sure be allowed to continue to do that effectively. Whether Acts will be introduced or not as a result of the ongoing rhetoric remains to be seen, but we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on things.