IX. A New Programme Planning Board for the Network


The first change would be an organizational one. The Authority has so far adopted the view that the requirements of Section 5 of the Television Act call for it to be represented at the later and more general stages of the companies’ scheduling meetings. Regular meetings also take place of the Programme Policy Committee, under the chairmanship of the Authority and with the companies’ chief executives and programme controllers present, at which important matters of broad programme policy are discussed. The Authority has not, however, attempted to control in the earliest stages the programme planning of the system.


In a two-channel situation (and not least with the requirements of Section 25 of the Act in mind), the Authority considers that a Programme Planning Board should be responsible for all aspects of ITV network planning and scheduling. Such a Board might comprise three members of the ITA staff (one as the Chairman of the Board, and the two ITA programme planners), five controllers from the central companies, and three controllers from the regional companies. The secretary of the Board would be a member of the ITA staff and the Board would be serviced by the ITA in conjunction with the existing ITCA Network Programme Secretariat. Local programming would continue to be the responsibility of each company individually.

The Post Office Tower, London - hub of Britain's telecommunications networks


The function of the Board would be to oversee all programme planning and scheduling for the ITV network. It might well not itself undertake all the detailed planning for incorporating the output of up to sixteen companies into two services; but, in formal terms, those involved in such planning would be doing so as agents of the Planning Board, to whom they would report. The arrangement proposed would broaden the present structure of the company programme controllers’ committee and would leave the companies’ creative momentum as the primary source of specific programme ideas; but it would also provide a strong ITA presence at the centre of the system and enable the ITA to survey, at an early stage, the full range of what was available, or potentially available. Thus the Authority’s involvement in the organization of ITV’s network output would not only take the form of mandating programmes and receiving schedules for consideration, as now, but would also include discussion of scheduling at an earlier stage: the full Authority’s means of exercising this oversight would be unchanged, since its senior staff would continue to be answerable for what was planned to it and to the committee (the Programme Schedule Committee) which gives special consideration to this part of the Authority’s work.