Foreword

This submission gives the Authority’s considered views about the use of the fourth UHF television channel in this country.

It proposes that there should be a fourth television service and that it should form part of the Independent Television system; that there should be no additional programme companies appointed as a result of the introduction of this ITV 2; that there should be closer involvement by the ITA in the programme planning processes of the combined Independent Television programmes, both streams of which would operate in relation to each other on a complementary and non-competitive basis; and that a two-service ITV system should provide freer access to the national audience for programmes from all sources, including Independent Television’s regional companies and outside producing agencies.

The Authority’s interest is solely that of improving the service, and it bases its proposal that there should be a second Independent Television channel upon the wider range of programming which could then be broadcast. ITV 1 has had marked success in providing programmes that are attractive. An ITV 2 would unquestionably enlarge the range available to the audience as a whole. It would also benefit sections of the total audience who have particular interests which cannot often be catered for, at least in peak time, within the confines of a single service.

Competition between two public services, one financed through licence revenue and the other supported by advertising, is something which has strengthened television since it was first introduced in the mid-1950s. Competition on equal terms between the same services, each with two complementary television channels, should improve the service given.

A meeting of The Independent Television Authority - left to right: Mr H W McMullan, OBE; Baroness Macleod of Borve, JP; Dr T F Carberry; Mr A W Page; Sir Ronald Gould (Deputy Chairman); The Rt Hon. Lord Aylestone, CBE (Chairman); Mr Brian Young (Director General); Baroness Sharp of Hornsey, GBE; Mr Stephen Keynes; Sir Frederick Hayday, CBE; Mr T Glyn Davies, CBE; Professor J M Meek.

The Authority has not confined its discussions to the question of a second Independent Television channel; it has also looked at other possibilities, as is explained later. Its firm conclusion is that the viewers’ interest will best be served by a second ITV service of the kind described. The argument is now developed in detail under the following headings:

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Conclusion

Most of those who have made their views known to the Authority, in the working party or in the consultation, in discussion or through the Press, will find some of what they said reflected, or at least considered, in parts of this submission. But it is not to be expected that any of them will endorse all of what we have written. The Authority has tried to weigh and to balance different ideas, and to come forward with the proposal which it believes the best one in the public interest. Its view, in summary, is as follows:

(i)

there is a strong case for a second ITV service;

(ii)

it should be complementary to and not competitive with ITV 1;

(iii)

its introduction should provide greater opportunities for producing companies both within and outside Independent Television, and in particular for the regional programme companies;

(iv)

its introduction would call for greater involvement by the Authority in programme planning;

(v)

there are substantial arguments for an early decision being taken.

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1971 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM