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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Hi! Welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. I’m your host Kellie.
Gina: And I’m Gina!
Kellie: This is Culture Class, Season 2, Lesson 13 - Top 5 Most Powerful Companies in British Media and Entertainment
Gina: In this lesson, we will tell you about the movers and shakers in British media and entertainment and give you some inside insights on them!

Lesson focus

Kellie: Let’s get started with our number 5 – “This is Global Limited”.
Gina: “This is Global” is a media and publishing company. It is most well known for its catalogue of radio stations, but also has a music publishing division and manages a couple of artists.
Kellie: Let’s begin with the radio stations then.
Gina: This is Global bought Global Radio in June 2012. Global Radio owns a network of commercial radio stations that cover various types of music.
Kellie: What radio stations does it own?
Gina: There is the Capital network which plays mainstream pop, the rock station Xfm, urban station Kiss and the self explanatory Classic FM, amongst others.
Kellie: With so many different types of radio stations This is Global must have a lot of listeners.
Gina: Around 20 million a week.
Kellie: Wow… that’s just under a third of the UK population.
Gina: As for the music publishing division, This is Global publishes music by artists such as Ellie Goulding, and the Wanted. It targets popular but independent artists.
Kellie: That’s a good combination to have though – music publishing and the radio stations to play the music that has been published.
Gina: The two do go hand in hand, don’t they?
Kellie: Yes they do! Okay, our number 4 is Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Gina: You may have guessed from the name, but Macmillan is a book publishing company.
Kellie: I had guessed that, yeah!
Gina: I’d have been worried if you hadn’t! It was founded by the Macmillan brothers in 1843. In the early years of the company, it published famous authors such as Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Hardy.
Kellie: Wow, some great authors there! The company must have quickly become a success.
Gina: Yes, so much so that Macmillan was able to quickly establish an American branch. However, this was later sold in 1896. Macmillan didn’t go back to America until 1954.
Kellie: Is it still owned by the Macmillan family now?
Gina: I’m afraid not. The family ownership ended in 1999 when the German company Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group increased the 70% stake they’d bought in 1995 up to the full 100%.
Kellie: That’s a shame. So other than publishing classic authors, what else does Macmillan do?
Gina: There are also divisions for educational, academic and scientific publishing. The audiobooks division was sold in 2001. Macmillan has offices in 41 countries and is active in a further 30.
Kellie: Okay. Number 3 is ITV plc.
Gina: The ITV television network is made up of fifteen regional channels that cover the UK. ITV plc owns 12 of these 15 channels.
Kellie: Let me guess – it came to own 12 of them through a series of mergers, right?
Gina: Of course! There were indeed originally 12 regional channels. Some of them merged together to reduce the numbers. When Granada and Carlton merged in 2004 they created ITV and this is how ITV came to own 12 of them. Various regional channels were bought by other regional channels but the merger that created ITV plc was between Granada and Carlton Communications in February 2004.
Kellie: ITV was launched as a commercial alternative to the public broadcaster the BBC.
Gina: That’s right. That happened in 1955 and the companies that precede ITV plc can be traced back to that time.
Kellie: ITV plc produces a lot of programming for its channels. The main channel is ITV and the programmes on this channel are a mix of national and regional ones.
Gina: There are regional news broadcasts as well as general interest programmes, but they are also home to soap operas, which are a kind of regular drama. One of these is the longest running soap opera in the world – Coronation Street.
Kellie: It’s also known as “Corrie” isn’t it?
Gina: Yes - and I think Corrie has become a national institution now!
Kellie: I think the general public agrees with you as the popularity of shows such as Coronation Street has made ITV the largest commercial channel in the UK with an audience share of 13%, second only to BBC1.
Kellie: Okay. Now, from one commercial broadcaster to one of a slightly different type as our number 2 is BSkyB.
Gina: British Sky Broadcasting, which we’ll call Sky as it’s easier and its commonly called, is a satellite TV broadcaster. It also provides broadband and telephone services.
Kellie: So unlike the commercial ITV which is free to view, Sky is a paid TV service.
Gina: It is. It’s the largest pay TV service in the UK with over ten million subscribers and was the first pay TV company in Europe to achieve that figure.
Kellie: Sky’s growth since it began broadcasting has been pretty rapid, hasn’t it? Sky has a good budget behind it due to being commercial and having subscription fees and its ability to outbid the terrestrial channels for almost everything.
Gina: A lot of Sky’s growth was due to getting the rights to screen Premiership football. Sky really changed the way we look at sports broadcasting in the UK and introduced the concept of multi-channel viewing.
Kellie: Sky has introduced a lot of TV technology as well. I remember when it first debuted its interactive services and the ability to pause live TV.
Gina: It’s also leading the way with HD and 3D broadcasting services.
Kellie: Yep, but that’s not enough to give it our number 1 spot. Instead, that goes to another broadcaster – the good old BBC.
Gina: The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public broadcaster. As well as the TV channels it operates in the UK, it has a radio network and international radio and television services. It was founded in 1922 and was the world’s first national broadcasting corporation.
Kellie: It’s funded by a mandatory license fee that everyone in the UK has to pay as long as they have a TV that is able to receive broadcasts.
Gina: As part of this, the BBC operates under a Royal Charter and this dictates certain ways that the BBC must act. The BBC exists to serve the public interest and has to deliver programming that does that.
Kellie: Yeah, so you get a mix of mainstream entertainment programmes - this mix also includes special interest programmes.
Gina: Weird is one way to describe them, I suppose! BBC1 has the highest viewing figures of any channel in the UK and Radio 2 is the most listened to radio station.
Kellie: The BBC World Service is quite well known internationally too.
Gina: It is. BBC News is quite well respected also.
Kellie: Additionally, the BBC has become more than a TV network really. It’s one of those familiar brands that has infiltrated culture and the British way of life.
Gina: Yeah, I think so too. I can’t imagine Britain without the BBC.
Kellie: Neither can I.
Gina: So that was our top five British Media and Entertainment companies.
Kellie: We hope it was informative!
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Gina: See you next time!
Kellie: See you!

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Friday at 06:30 PM
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Hi Listeners! Would you add any other company to this list?