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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 May 2021

The Primacy of Programmes in the Future of Broadcasting

The Primacy of Programmes in the Future of Broadcasting

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1984

(p.89) The Primacy of Programmes in the Future of Broadcasting
Television Policy

Denis Forman

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, former director of the British Film Institute, argues that while technology has created the new broadcast delivery systems of satellite and cable television, these developments are unimportant compared to the quality of the programming which they deliver. He argues that it is crucial to persuade politicians that ‘the true value of our business lies in our programmes’. The collapse of the plan to cable Britain offers testament to this view: ‘not many people are willing to pay…for a service that…is made up of the cheapest television programmes’. Direct broadcasting by satellite will eventually be a success, but the rate of penetration will be slow until ‘you decide on the programme policy’. Consequently, the future of broadcasting seems to rest ‘in the hands of the duopoly’. But there are problems here. For example, senior managers seem more concerned with profits above television programming, but ‘efficiency is the enemy of originality’. Another is the failure to confront government challenges to freedom of expression such as the Official Secrets Act.

Keywords:   television programming, Britain, cable television, direct broadcasting, satellite, broadcasting, senior managers, freedom of expression, Official Secrets Act

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