Lords: newspaper ownership remains an important issue

With 45 per cent of adults reading one of the top ten national newspapers, ownership of the press remains an important issue according to the House of Lords Communications Committee.

Citing figures from the National Readership Survey, the Lords stated today that the number of the adults who read a daily newspaper has dropped by 19 per cent between 1992 and 2006 from 26.7 million to 21.7 million.

The committee says that given the population increase in that period, this represents a 24 per cent decrease in readership as a proportioin of the whole population. Acording to the research 59 per cent of adults read one or more national daily newspaper in 1992, while 45 per cent did in 2006.

The data also shows that the decline has been most marked among young people: the overall number of 15 to 24-year-old readers fell by 37 per cent and among 25 to 34-year-olds by 40 per cent.

The number of older readers has been comparatively steady, with the number of 55 to 64-year-old readers increasing by four per cent and the number of readers aged over 65 falling by three per cent.

Two national newspapers managed to achieve readership increased according to the NRS figures are The Times, which saw a 69 per cent increase and the Daily Mail which had a 18 per cent lift.

Lord Fowler, the Chairman of the Communications Committee, said: ‘These figures show an overall decline in the number of people reading a national newspaper. However, they also show that more than 21 million people in Britain still read at least one of the top ten national daily newspapers on an average day. This figure does not include the readership of free daily newspapers like the Metro, which has a readership of over two million. Nor does it include the readership of Scottish, Welsh and regional titles or people who read newspaper content online.”

‘With 45 per cent of the population reading one of the top ten national newspapers on an average day it is clear that ownership of the press remains an important issue. In the New Year the Committee will be looking in detail at whether media ownership is appropriately regulated and how the public interest can be upheld.”

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