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.
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: