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Whataday9,152 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
And you think there would still have been ITV digital channels if that had been on the agenda? They only existed as a result of significant investment from the commercial entities which owned most of the franchises (including your dreaded Carlton). With a franchise round upcoming at such a crucial time - you really think they would have even thought about investing millions in channels they could imminently lose?


I'm not going to go through the history of the ONdigital fiasco, but did the 1990 Broadcasting Act effectively factor in the potential that ITV (companies) could by 2000ish have additional satellite, cable, or DTT channels, and how they would be handled at a future franchise round?


I don't think they were foreseeing DTT in 1990 - but it was already clear that satellite and cable channels were changing the landscape. The IBA had already awarded our national DBS channels to BSB, after the BBC/IBA joint venture didn't work out (Granada/Anglia + others were involved initially)

Similarly the ITV companies (apart from Thames) and Virgin had created SuperChannel (on European satellite and cable), which although not a success for them (they'd sold it by 1990 I think) did demonstrate that it was a new part of the media landscape.

It was clear by 1990 that non-terrestrial broadcasting was going to be a new revenue opportunity for commercial broadcasters - and particularly for ITV franchise holders who produced high-value, popular content.


But in terms of the Broadcasting Act, the franchises issued were clearly for Channel 3, and not any other operations. Had they included all future operations of the ITV companies that would have been the opposite of what they were trying to achieve - deregulation.
noggin13,887 posts since 26 Jun 2001

I'm not going to go through the history of the ONdigital fiasco, but did the 1990 Broadcasting Act effectively factor in the potential that ITV (companies) could by 2000ish have additional satellite, cable, or DTT channels, and how they would be handled at a future franchise round?


I don't think they were foreseeing DTT in 1990 - but it was already clear that satellite and cable channels were changing the landscape. The IBA had already awarded our national DBS channels to BSB, after the BBC/IBA joint venture didn't work out (Granada/Anglia + others were involved initially)

Similarly the ITV companies (apart from Thames) and Virgin had created SuperChannel (on European satellite and cable), which although not a success for them (they'd sold it by 1990 I think) did demonstrate that it was a new part of the media landscape.

It was clear by 1990 that non-terrestrial broadcasting was going to be a new revenue opportunity for commercial broadcasters - and particularly for ITV franchise holders who produced high-value, popular content.


But in terms of the Broadcasting Act, the franchises issued were clearly for Channel 3, and not any other operations. Had they included all future operations of the ITV companies that would have been the opposite of what they were trying to achieve - deregulation.


Yes - the IBA franchises were advertised that way - but companies surely were not blind to wider opportunities?
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Ne1L C550 posts since 11 Sep 2011
Lets not forget that TVS did buy MTM in the 80's even though it went belly up so it proves that even before the free for all of the 90's ITV companies did have aspirations further afield than their transmission regions.
Neil Jones4,601 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Lets not forget that TVS did buy MTM in the 80's even though it went belly up so it proves that even before the free for all of the 90's ITV companies did have aspirations further afield than their transmission regions.


I think that might have been the case long before 1993 somehow as the companies exported their popular TV shows around the globe. Any ITV company that only focused on where their signal reached wasn't going to make their fortune by purely making shows about the Nell Gwynn tea rooms (unless there was a lot of bloodshed or something).
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Whataday9,152 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
Lets not forget that TVS did buy MTM in the 80's even though it went belly up so it proves that even before the free for all of the 90's ITV companies did have aspirations further afield than their transmission regions.


And even prior you had ATV/ITC, Thames/Euston Films and of course Granada had a huge empire of businesses outside of ITV. At one stage even HTV had its fingers in a lot more pies than just its franchise.
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Riaz507 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Yes - the IBA franchises were advertised that way - but companies surely were not blind to wider opportunities?


Too right. From a vantage point of the late 1980s it was almost impossible to predict how things would turn out with individual regional ITV companies once satellite and cable became sufficiently mainstream. All that could be determined with confidence is that some ITV companies would see satellite and cable as an opportunity more than a threat. For example, Thames could establish a cable channel in London primarily to broadcast at weekends as well as an outlet for programmes from their back catalogue. Ditto for LWT on weekdays. Other ITV companies could launch satellite channels either on their own or in conjunction with other producers and TV companies.

If individual ITV companies operate additional satellite or cable channels then it raises questions about the degree of regulation that applies to them in comparison with their terrestrial analogue channel. Should they be treated in exactly the same way as some small obscure satellite channel or should they be subject to additional terms and conditions? Would having channels by both Thames and LWT available 24/7 on cable make a mockery of the weekday weekend split in London? What about if an ITV company establishes its own breakfast TV channel to compete directly with the ITV breakfast franchise? What if the ITV breakfast franchise decides to establish a channel to broadcast 24 hours? Should there be any policies relating to duplicating networked programmes on additional channels? If future franchise rounds are held then should they strictly apply only to Channel 3 or should additional satellite and cable channels also be included to a certain extent?

These scenarios don't appear to have been given too much consideration by the government when formulating the 1990 Broadcasting Act.
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Ne1L C gave kudos
Ne1L C550 posts since 11 Sep 2011
Yes - the IBA franchises were advertised that way - but companies surely were not blind to wider opportunities?


Too right. From a vantage point of the late 1980s it was almost impossible to predict how things would turn out with individual regional ITV companies once satellite and cable became sufficiently mainstream. All that could be determined with confidence is that some ITV companies would see satellite and cable as an opportunity more than a threat. For example, Thames could establish a cable channel in London primarily to broadcast at weekends as well as an outlet for programmes from their back catalogue. Ditto for LWT on weekdays. Other ITV companies could launch satellite channels either on their own or in conjunction with other producers and TV companies.

If individual ITV companies operate additional satellite or cable channels then it raises questions about the degree of regulation that applies to them in comparison with their terrestrial analogue channel. Should they be treated in exactly the same way as some small obscure satellite channel or should they be subject to additional terms and conditions? Would having channels by both Thames and LWT available 24/7 on cable make a mockery of the weekday weekend split in London? What about if an ITV company establishes its own breakfast TV channel to compete directly with the ITV breakfast franchise? What if the ITV breakfast franchise decides to establish a channel to broadcast 24 hours? Should there be any policies relating to duplicating networked programmes on additional channels? If future franchise rounds are held then should they strictly apply only to Channel 3 or should additional satellite and cable channels also be included to a certain extent?

These scenarios don't appear to have been given too much consideration by the government when formulating the 1990 Broadcasting Act.


Gyngell wanted to challenge ITN for the news provider. He also spoke to Channel 4 about TVAM going up against Sunrise/GMTV.
Neil Jones4,601 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I think the possibility of having hundreds of satellite TV channels was a long way off even by 1980s standards when there were plans to have four satellite channels on the BSB system (they later launched with six), and of course we all know how the BSB story ends.

I'm not sure on the technicals of the time but I dare say the signals weren't compressed like they are now and it would have probably required the launching of more satellites to get more services onto the platform, and by this point BSB was losing money like there was no tomorrow.
Riaz507 posts since 6 Jan 2016
I think the possibility of having hundreds of satellite TV channels was a long way off even by 1980s standards when there were plans to have four satellite channels on the BSB system (they later launched with six), and of course we all know how the BSB story ends.


From a technical perspective, no. From a regulatory perspective, possibly. Once Astra was launched then the rest is history.