Challenges, 1945–59

Simon J. Potter

in Broadcasting Empire

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199568963
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741821 | DOI:
Challenges, 1945–59

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Although the BBC had some success in promoting post-war imperial unity through radio, to some its efforts seemed too conservative. Complex collaborative radio projects were shunned in favour of simple contributions from overseas. Programmes from the Commonwealth were often deemed to be of an inferior standard, and were rejected. Moreover, when the BBC lost its domestic monopoly of television broadcasting, commercial competition undermined the position of public broadcasting both in Britain and the wider British world. The BBC lost audiences at home to Independent Television (ITV) stations, while overseas it failed to compete with American television exporters. The BBC acknowledged that it could not maintain its traditional, non-commercial approach to overseas operations, and instead began to sell television programmes at market prices. This commercialisation posed a major challenge to existing Commonwealth collaborative structures. Only in the field of news did Commonwealth collaboration seem to extend successfully to television.

Keywords: Commonwealth; ITV; America; commercialization; news

Chapter.  14203 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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