III. The Case for a Second ITV Service


The case for the introduction of a second service is based upon the programming restrictions which must exist in a single service. The Authority is charged by Section 1(4) of the Television Act to provide “a public service for disseminating information, education and entertainment” and to secure “a proper balance and wide range” in the subject-matter of the programmes; but it is obvious that, within the confines of a single service, there cannot be as wide a representation of the tastes and interests of the audience as a whole, and those of the various groups within it, as there can be with two jointly planned services. This was true of BBC 1, which was a service that did not have to earn its own living. The introduction of BBC 2 provided an opportunity for a large widening of programme range in BBC television, and a comparable widening could be secured in Independent Television.

Thames Television's Teddington studios


Any single general television service must be restricted in the programmes which it can show at the times when most people can watch. Purely on a temporal basis, this must be so; for, except at weekends, the normal maximum viewing span of most working adults is limited to four or five hours from 6-7 o’clock to 10-11 o’clock. In that time, in a single service, there is not scope to cover much more than the staple fare of television; light entertainment shows, plays, series and serials, comedies, sport, news, current affairs, and documentaries. A single self-supporting service can be adventurous within limits, but not beyond.


Independent Television is one of the most potent forms of communication and enjoys a huge daily audience. Just as we would deprecate a public library system or an organisation of the cinema or the theatre which was unable to provide a wide range of material for its users, so we can say that television is weakened if it cannot cater well for different needs; the operation of a second ITV service would do much to solve this problem and would widen horizons, provided it was operated so as to extend the range of existing television programming.