Chapter

Power and Pluralism in Broadcasting

Phillip Whitehead

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.003.0011
Power and Pluralism in Broadcasting

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In this lecture, the author, a Labour MP and television producer, suggests that the broadcasting industry in Britain is suffering the most severe and sustained attack he can recall in the last twenty-five years. The assailants include politicians, government policy, new technology, free market economics and even broadcasting regulators. The author argues that the BBC has become closer to the model espoused by Annan, but the fifteen regional companies of ITV are ‘now bought and sold with little regard to their region’; the diversity of television programming produced in the regions is being lost. By contrast, the independent producers have brought ‘a quite new pluralism to British television’, although this may be compromised by a ‘Peacock afterthought’ which threatens to change advertising arrangements at Channel 4 and may result in a loss of ‘innovatory zest’. Similarly, ITV may be ‘dragged down’ by its investment in satellite and cable television if these innovatory services fail in the late 1990s. The author claims that a system of European-wide regulation is the ‘real answer’ to secure diversity and pluralism in broadcasting.

Keywords: broadcasting industry; Britain; BBC; ITV; television programming; pluralism; independent producers; advertising; cable television; regulation

Chapter.  3868 words. 

Subjects: Television

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