The Primacy of Programmes in the Future of Broadcasting

Denis Forman

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
The Primacy of Programmes in the Future of Broadcasting

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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

Chapter.  3432 words. 

Subjects: Television

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