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The UK SMG group (formerly Scottish Media Group) is a television and radio broadcaster with newspaper, magazine publishing and other interests.

The group

SMG centres on Scottish Television, created by Ken Thomson of the Canadian Thomson group. It now has commercial television, newspaper, radio, magazine, outdoor and cinema advertising operations.

In December 2002 SMG sold the Herald newspapers (including the Glasgow Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times) to Gannett for £216 million; the sale followed speculation on this site and others about dismemberment or assimilation by a larger competitor.

SMG publications now range from Scottish Farmer to music magazine The Strad and sports mag Boxing News. Its broadcast interests include the dominant commercial television broadcast and production operations in Scotland, along with London-based radio stations formerly owned by Richard Branson.

SMG has an £8m stake in broadcaster Heart of Midlothian plc and a 25% shareholding in GMTV, the UK national breakfast channel. Broadcaster ITV plc holds a substantial stake in SMG.

The SMG corporate site is here.


There have been no major studies of SMG. Background is provided by the multivolume Independent Television in Britain (London: Macmillan 1982- ) by Bernard Sendall, Jeremy Potter & Paul Bonner and Behind the Screens: The Structure of British Television in the Nineties (London: Lawrence & Wishart 1994) by Stuart Hood.

For Roy and Ken Thomson see the works cited in the Thomson profile, in particular Russell Braddon's Roy Thomson of Fleet Street (London: Collins 1965) and Susan Goldenberg's The Thomson Empire: A MultiBillion Dollar Canadian Dynasty (London: Sidgwick & Jackson 1984).

For Branson see Mick Brown's Richard Branson: The Inside Story (London: Michael Joseph 1988) and Tim Jackson's Virgin King (New York: HarperCollins 1994). The former has more bite than Tom Bower's Branson (London: Fourth Estate 2000) and the mogul's Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography (London: Virgin 1998).