Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, looks at newspapers in Islington, London

Fact check: Jeremy Corbyn's claims on UK media ownership


On August 23, British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn published a tweet containing unattributed statistics to argue in favour of breaking “the stranglehold of elite power and billionaire domination over large parts of our media.”

Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter

We must break the stranglehold of elite power and billionaire domination over large parts of our media. Just three companies control 71% of national newspaper circulation and 5 companies control 81% of local newspaper circulation.

WikiTribune is fact checking this claim. You can edit or expand this story

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Fact check: Labour’s press office told WikiTribune Corbyn sourced the statistics from July 2015 circulation figures provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), a non-profit organisation owned by the media industry.

Claim 1: “Three companies control 71 percent of national newspaper circulation”

ABC told WikiTribune that three companies controlled 71 percent of daily and Sunday national newspapers average circulation, according to July 2015 figures.

Breakdown:

  1. News UK 33.7 percent
  2. Associated Newspapers 22.6 percent
  3. Trinity Mirror 14.7 percent

This claim is true.

Claim 2: “Five companies control 81 percent of local newspaper circulation”

ABC told WikiTribune that the five companies with the largest share of regional newspaper circulation controlled 64.3 percent of the market, according to late June 2015 figures.

Breakdown:

  1. Evening Standard 20.3 percent
  2. Trinity Mirror 16.9 percent
  3. Midland News Association 11.9 percent
  4. Newsquest 8.0 percent
  5. Bullivant Media Ltd 7.2 percent

This claim is false.

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  • Sources

    Labour press office: 

    “These stats are sourced from the circulation figures provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (July 2015).”

    ABC:

    We had a look at the figures for you in order to verify Corbyn’s tweet:

    July 2015:  Daily and Sunday National Newspapers (average circulation)

    News UK 33.7%

    Associated Newspapers 22.6%

    Trinity Mirror 14.7%

    = 71%

    June end 2015: Regional Newspapers (average circulation)

    Evening Standard 20.3%

    Trinity Mirror 16.9%

    Midland News Association 11.9

    Newsquest 8.0%

    Bullivant Media Ltd 7.2%

    = 64.3%

    Local World 6.8%

    Johnston Press 5.6%

    DCThomson 4.7%

    Champion 3.7%

    A different picture if the figures are taken now. We’ve done the Dec 2017 report as it includes a bigger picture:

    Trinity Mirror 25.2

    Newsquest 21.2

    Evening Standard 13.7

    Archant 12.5

    Midland News 6.9

    = 79.5%

     

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