The Future

The whole of British broadcasting was brought under review between 1960 and 1962 by the Committee on Broadcasting (the Pilkington Committee) appointed by the Postmaster-General. The Report of this Committee, which appeared in June 1962, criticised certain features of Independent Television. Since the appearance of the Report, the Government has issued two White Papers on broadcasting policy, one in July and the other in December 1962. In the main, the policy outlined in these two White Papers does not contemplate implementation of the more radical reforms recommended by the Pilkington Committee. The Television Act 1954, which governs the content of Independent Television until 1964, will be amended by a Bill brought before Parliament in the early months of 1963 and expected to pass into law in the summer.

If Parliament accepts Government policy as outlined in the two White Papers, the broad outlines of Independent Television as it now operates and as it has been described above will remain, in the sense that the system will continue to consist of the ITA as the supervisory authority and a number of programme companies whose function it is to provide programmes for broadcasting by the Authority. The powers of the Authority in the programme field will, however, be clarified and strengthened, particularly in the matter of the exchange (or “networking”) of programmes among the different companies. There will also be significant changes in the policy which the Authority has to adopt over the rentals paid by the programme companies.

A detailed description of the differing responsibilities which will after 1964 fall upon the Authority and the programme companies will, however, not be possible until the amending Bill becomes law.