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TVS Post-1993

(February 2017)

WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
Firstly, I apologise for the creation of this thread and where it may lead. Hopefully it will prove more interesting than tedious.

For very obvious reasons I hesitate to post this but I think I've stumbled across something with regards to The TVS Archive Saga. I feel this post is valid on account of it being based on some hard facts - obtained via Companies House records and archive news articles - rather than idle speculation or a few pointless emails fired off to some clueless duty office manager.

So we know that in 1992, TVS was operated by TVS Television Ltd, which was bought by IFE who used it as a platform on which to launch The Family Channel.

Post 1993, TVS Television Ltd retained two primary assets:
1) Maidstone Studios*
2) The TVS Programme Library

*The company owned 100% of what is now The Maidstone Studios Ltd, a company that has been renamed several times (formerly The Family Channel Studios Ltd before that TVS Production Ltd) but was incorporated in 1980 as South-East Communications Ltd.

So up until the mid 90s, the archive had gone nowhere. It hadn't been absorbed into IFE as has been speculated previously. TVS Television still owned and manage the rights, right up until...

*

The above is from the 1996 accounts of TVS Television Ltd, the year that Flextech took full control of The Family Channel. The deal included the studios, which meant that TVS Television Ltd became a subsidiary of Flextech Plc.

As you can see, the accounts state that the programming library was sold on 18th March 1996. Now, considering the Flextech deal was announced on 20th March 1996, it's possible that IFE sold the library before the sale went through. Could it have been sold to an IFE subsidiary or has everyone been wrong all along and Flextech shifted the rights to its own archive?

Either way, we have a clearer timeline of the archive's ownership, and given the company structure described above (ie the archive was not hived off somewhere earlier on in IFE's ownership) I have a strong feeling that the physical archive, as previously suspected, is located in the vast attic at Maidstone. Perhaps it's no longer complete - consider the talk on the Paul O'Grady Show about tapes of No73 being 'rescued from a skip'. The clip was credited to Nic Ayling, who happens to have office space at Maidstone (or at least used to).

Another footnote to this little investigation: TVS Television Ltd was actually incorporated on 8 October 1957... as Southern Television Ltd! Not too sure how this happened, as obviously Southern & TVS were two very separate licensees.

TVS Television Ltd eventually sold The Maidstone Studios in 2002. Amazingly, the company is only now currently being liquidated.
:-(
A former member
Very interest. Who brought the lirbray on the 18 March. Does that mean flextech had no chance of getting the game show programmes.
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
Well IFE got a stake in Flextech as part of the sale so some sort of deal may have been done. I haven't been able to find any reference to who bought the archive but I'm sure it would have either been a subsidiary of IFE or Flextech.
IN
Interceptor
All very interesting.

I suppose what we don't know is:
a) what "the entire programme library" was as of 18 March 1996 - it could be that anything IFE considered of international interest had already been transferred to the ownership of another subsidiary
b) who the programme library was sold to

I think knowing the answer to part A is the key.

With regards to Southern Television Limited becoming TVS Television Limited - could this have been acquired as part of the studio purchase (and subsequently renamed when the company was restructured)?

Was Southern Television Limited the official IBA franchisee pre-TVS, and TVS Limited the official IBA franchisee post-Southern?
VM
VMPhil Granada North West Today
You know how they dug up those old Atari video game cartridges in an American desert for a film? Can we have our own one day of a team of experts excavating Maidstone to find buried copies of timeless classics like Motormouth and Catchphrase?
IS
Inspector Sands


As you can see, the accounts state that the programming library was sold on 18th March 1996. Now, considering the Flextech deal was announced on 20th March 1996, it's possible that IFE sold the library before the sale went through. Could it have been sold to an IFE subsidiary or has everyone been wrong all along and Flextech shifted the rights to its own archive?

Going by the dates I would have thought they were dividing up the company for the sale of the Family Channel UK.


So the assets that made up the channel were left in TVS Ltd which was then sold, and the rest - including the programme archive - transferred into another subsidiary which stayed part of IFE. Remember that their 'entire programme library' was a lot more than just its ITV output. Also 'sale' can be just a nominal sum, they could have just 'sold' the library to the parent company for £1

Quote:
Another footnote to this little investigation: TVS Television Ltd was actually incorporated on 8 October 1957... as Southern Television Ltd! Not too sure how this happened, as obviously Southern & TVS were two very separate licensees

Probably to do with the transfer of the studios, but also maybe to do with the continuation of employment of its staff, pensions etc. Maybe something the IBA mandated, although presumably easier that way too rather than retire everyone

I don't think the protections available now were in 1981/2, although the original legislation for what is now TUPE dates from 1981.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 18 February 2017 9:04am - 4 times in total
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
I don't think they could have sold the archive for just £1 though - It would have to be the market value. You can't just transfer assets between companies like that.
IS
Inspector Sands
I don't think they could have sold the archive for just £1 though - It would have to be the market value. You can't just transfer assets between companies like that.

But at the time it was part of the same company. Surely assets are transferred between subsidiary or parent companies all the time?

ITV managed to move their licenses around between different holding companies, do you think that one part of ITV paid millions to another? No, it's just a nominal amount so it doesn't just disappear off the accounts


If it was at market value then it wouldn't have made any difference as the proceeds from the sale would have ended up with IFE anyway. Flextech wouldn't have ended up with that money if the archive wasn't part of the sale
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 18 February 2017 9:45am - 3 times in total
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
I'm certain that's not allowed under company law. Let's say ABC Ltd was about to go into administration because it owed lots of money. ABC Plc couldn't just transfer the valuable assets of the company to XYZ Ltd, and let ABC Ltd go bust with no assets.
IS
Inspector Sands
I'm certain that's not allowed under company law. Let's say ABC Ltd was about to go into administration because it owed lots of money. ABC Plc couldn't just transfer the valuable assets of the company to XYZ Ltd, and let ABC Ltd go bust with no assets.

That sounds about right, but could it happen the other way round (which is what this would be) - XYZ Ltd transfers assets into parent company ABC Plc and XYZ becomes dormant?


It's just a theory. If the long standing idea that the programmes ended up with the yanks is true then that is how it happened, however much money changed hands.

As I say either way the money ends up in the same place - TVS sell it to their parent company for x million and then the proceeds go back to the parent as a dividend or cancelling debts
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
It's impossible for one company to transfer assets to another without paying the market value for it.

Either way, it doesn't quite make sense why IFE would want the TVS library when it has been well documented they only wanted it for their UK operations.
:-(
A former member
Who owned the other assets? This may sound draft but back in 1987/88 remember the company was overhauled so the TV part become TVS televisions,

What about the other asset? If we know which sold which part of the company then maybe we're get a better idea:

* Southampton Studios
* Gillian threater
* London office

in 1986 TVS was successful in buying
* Midem, an organisation that promoted trade fairs,
* Gilson International a Los Angeles distribution company selling programmes outside the US.
* TVS also acquired a 3.5% stake in Australia Network Ten company Northern Star.

Also is another interesting fact
Quote:
By 7 July 1988, MTM was brought for £190M, which give Mary Tyler Moore 5.1% and Arthur Price, chief executive of MTM, 6.6% shares in TVS. Both agreed not to sell for a period of five years.


Which would make it 7 July 1993.... 4 months after TVS was sold off, did IFE get hold of their share? is this the reason why TVS television was still a spreate company? Mary Tyler Moore just died this week, for all we know still held share somewhere.
Last edited by A former member on 18 February 2017 10:14am

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