Broadcasting in Britain

Part of the DUV : Sozialwissenschaft book series (DUVSW)


The BBC is often described as one of the great British success stories of the 20th century. It has accompanied generations of people through their daily lives, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, with programmes of information, education and entertainment. Programmes have been valued and appreciated for a number of reasons, in particular because they served as a reliable and trustworthy source of information, reflected British culture and society, and contributed to its formation. However, some of the credit for what has often been referred to as the best broadcasting system in the world also needs to go to the commercial companies. From their introduction in 1955 until the early 1990s they constituted an essential component of a broadcasting system that was dedicated to public service. This is no longer the case.


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    and Brown Maggie: Ginny’s grotto. In: The Guardian 2, 18.12.1995, p. 16. A Bill becomes law after it has been passed through Parliament — including possible amendments — and is then turned into an Act. The new Broadcasting Act was passed into legislation in November 1996. Regarding cross-media ownership, some members of the Labour Party (in particular Lewis Moonie, Labour’s front bench spokesman on National Heritage) signalled in April 1996 that the party might oppose the restrictions on media monopolies proposed by the Conservatives. This announcement needs to be interpreted as a move to strengthen the Mirror Group, which has traditionally supported the Labour Party.Google Scholar
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    The consequences this will have for the BBC are discussed in chapter 6.12. (See also Postscript.)Google Scholar
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    They were: UKTV (headed by Canadian broadcaster CanWest in alliance with Australia’s Network 10, Scandinavian Broadcasting Systems, The Ten Group and SelecTV) bidding £36 million; Virgin TV (including The Virgin Group, Paramount, Associated Newspapers, Philips, Electra and HTV) bidding £22 million; Channel 5 Broadcasting (headed by Pearson, MAI, CLT and Warburg Pincus Ventures) bidding £22 million; and New Century Television (including Rupert Murdoch’s News International, Granada, Polygram, Goldman Sachs, TCI, The Really Useful Group, Hoare Govett and Swedish conglomerate Kinnevik) bidding £2 million. See Bell, Emily and Brooks, Richard: Fight is on to milk TV channel we don ’t need. In: The Observer, 30.4.1995, p. 6 and Broadcast, in association with KPMG (ed.): Four play for 5. In: Broadcast, 12.5.1995, Supplement pp. 1–22. Before the bids were revealed, the consortium in which Rupert Murdoch was involved caused a lot of concern in the media industry because it was feared that his influence in British broadcasting could grow further.Google Scholar
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    Channel 5 Broadcasting, which offered the same amount for the franchise as Virgin TV, won the licence because the highest bid from UKTV and the identical Virgin TV bid failed to pass the quality threshold. See Culf, Andrew: Channel 5 triumph signals new challenge for victor. In: The Guardian, 28.10.1995, p. 5. Channel 5 finally came on air on 30 March 1997.Google Scholar
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