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- Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for "Culture of
English Speaking Countries Lessons", Xiangtan Normal University...
WESTERN CULTURE AND SOCIETY: THE UNITED KINGDOM (UK) -
"Media" it is the Latin plural of 'medium', meaning the means by
which something is communicated. Television, Radio and Newspapers,
Advertising, Music, Posters, Books, Magazines, the Theatre and Cinema are
all methods for reaching many people with lots of information and more.
There are five free television channels in Britain (BBC1,BBC2, ITV, Channel
4 and Channel 5). There are also satellite and cable channels paid for by
subscription. BBC has no adverts, funded by license fee. All other channels
Channels such as BBC1
offer general entertainment, while others concentrate on specific areas of
interest, such as sport, music, movies, and children’s programmes. The
largest satellite broadcaster is BskyB (British Sky Broadcasting).
The most popular
channels are ITV and BBC1. BBC2 and Channel 4 are often called 'minority' or
'alternative' channels because they broadcast programmes which are outside
of the mainstream. Channel 5 began transmitting in 1997 but as yet it has
failed to attract a significant share of the audience.
The BBC is the one of
the worlds largest media organisations, providing five national radio
networks, 39 local radio stations and World Service (radio and television)
in addition to its two TV services. Its main source of income is the license
fee, although it is having to become increasingly commercial, for instance
through the sale of programmes, merchandise and technical resources.
Britain's other TV
services (Channels 3, 4 & 5 and satellite/cable) rely financially on
selling advertising space and sponsorship of programmes.
Soap operas continue to
be the most popular TV programmes, followed by drama or adventure series (eg.
Casualty or The Bill). Lighthearted shows such as Blind Date and quizzes
also attract large audiences.
However, the development
of more single theme channels on satellite and cable (e.g.. films, news,
life styles, music, sci-fi, nostalgia) means that viewers are more easily
able to 'filter out' types of programmes which do not appeal to them. And
improved technology is leading to cable (community) and pay-to-view
television being linked with phone lines, radio, the Internet, and
interactive opportunities such as home shopping and banking. –
Radio: People in the UK spend almost 16 hours a
week listening to the radio. The BBC has five national radio networks, which
together transmit all types of music, news, current affairs, drama,
education, sport and a range of features programmes. There are also 39 BBC
local radio stations serving England and also national regional radio
services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There are three national
commercial radio stations. About 200 independent local radio services are
also in operation. These stations supply local news and information, sport,
music and other entertainment, education and consumer advice. An expansion
of local and national radio will be made possible with digital audio
broadcasting. BBC digital radio broadcasts began in September 1995. The
first commercial digital radio services are due to be broadcast in 1999.
85% of people in Britain
today listen regularly to the radio. The sector which attracts the largest
audience is independent local radio, broadcasting to young people in a
largely music format.
tend to dominate BBC Radio 4 and 5 schedules, as well as Talk Radio. BBC
Local Radio, targeting people over 40, feature about twice as much speech as
music. Restricted Service Licenses or RSLs are issued by the Radio Authority
for small community- or college-centred radio stations which are then
permitted to broadcast for a limited period.
Changes in Regulation: Broadcasting in the UK
is undergoing radical change. The availability of more radio frequencies,
together with satellite, cable and microwave transmissions, has already made
a greater number of local, national and international services possible. The
transition from analogue to digital transmission technology has the
potential to expand this capacity enormously.
Digital broadcasting is
a new, more effective way of transmitting radio and television services. It
allows much more information than before to be transmitted, and can offer
many more channels, extra services, interactivity and higher quality picture
and sound to viewers and listeners willing to invest in new receiving
Newspapers: More daily newspapers, national and
regional, are sold for every person in Britain than in most other developed
countries. On an average day, nearly 60 percent of people over the age of 15
read a national morning paper and over 65 percent read a Sunday newspaper.
There are 10 national morning daily newspapers, 9 Sundays, about 1,400
regional and local newspaper titles, and over 6,500 periodical publications
on sale. There is no state control or censorship.
There are two types of
newspaper, Tabloid and Broadsheet. Tabloids dominate the market; they
provide a mainly entertainment and sports news, usually in a sensational or
scandalous way, they use their own interpretation of current news issues.
The Sun is bought by around 4 million people every day, four times the
number who buy the highest selling broadsheet paper, the Daily Telegraph.
Middle-range papers (Mail and Express) claim about a quarter of readers,
with 'quality' newspapers (The Times, Guardian, Independent etc) less than
On Sundays, the News of
the World is read by up to a third of newspaper readers. It is published by
News International which also owns The Sun, The Times, and the Sunday Times,
and has a 40% share in BskyB. Many of the large media groups have business
interests in other areas of the media (e.g. regional ITV companies,
satellite or cable TV, magazines, books or regional newspapers).
In addition to national
newspapers, there are also 43 million local or regional papers bought or
delivered free to homes in Britain every week.