Chapter

Deregulation and Quality Television

Verity Lambert

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/9780748617173.003.0014
Deregulation and Quality Television

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In this lecture, the author, a producer and director who has worked at the BBC and ITV, examines what can be done to preserve quality in the context of a broadcasting system experiencing deregulation, reflecting both government policy and the emergence of multichannel broadcasting. She begins with definitions but acknowledges that the notion of ‘quality’ is contested, and suggests that money is central since it allows high production values, well-researched television programmes, a good programme mix and funds innovation, risks and the occasional mistake. The inclusion of a ‘quality threshold’ in the Broadcasting Act 1990 is a significant amendment for Britain, but the Independent Television Commission must hold ITV companies to their programming commitments, especially the production and airing of documentaries and current affairs in prime time and the BBC and Channel 4 must ‘not lose their nerve’ when confronted by falling ratings. The author concludes by considering the role of programme makers (in-house and independents) in sustaining quality, focusing on independent production. Establishing an association for independents would help eliminate the fragmentation and competition between them which can reduce programme quality.

Keywords: quality; broadcasting; Britain; BBC; ITV; Broadcasting Act 1990; deregulation; television programmes; Independent Television Commission; independent production

Chapter.  3291 words. 

Subjects: Television

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