The Bbc And The Public Service Broadcasting Media Essay

John Reith had founded BBC in 1922, to inform, educate and entertain. In the 1930s the BBC expands by the construction of Broadcasting House, the first ever purpose-built broadcast center in the UK. The BBC creates an ever expanding range of radio broadcasts across arts, education and news, launches the Empire Service, and experiments with the world’s first ever regular TV service under John Logie Baird. The TV service closes during World War 2, which makes BBC radio crucial. Winston Churchill makes his famous inspirational speeches over the BBC airwaves, and BBC news becomes a lifeline for countless listeners in the UK and around the world. Radio also launches some of its long-running programs such as Woman’s Hour and Book at Bedtime; and creates the groundbreaking Third Programme. The 1950s is the decade of television. In 1953, 20 million BBC viewers watched Elizabeth II crowned. Following television innovations include Attenborough’s Zoo Quest, Blue Peter for children, the creation of daily news bulletins and analysis programs such as Panorama, and the first ever British TV soap. The building of the first ever purpose-built TV center in the world takes place in the 1960s. In this decade also a momentous technological breakthrough happens, as the nation gasps at pictures of man on the moon and observes the transition to new color television. In the 1970s, Morecambe and Wise make the whole nation laugh. The Family shows us ourselves as never before in the first fly-on-the-wall documentary. Drama expands to span both the dark and the literary, from Dennis Potter to the BBC Shakespeare Project. A devastated world gives a new focus to the BBC in the 1980s. One of the largest TV audiences ever is recorded for Charles and Diana’s wedding and the BBC launches its most popular TV soap of all time, EastEnders. In the 1990s BBC enters the digital age in this decade, developing a range of digital broadcasting and internet services. Also news goes 24 hours, Princess Diana dominates the documentary headlines and by the end of the 1990s, 19 million people watch her funeral. The 2000s is the digital decade, the BBC responds to audiences’ need to have program content ‘anytime, any place, anywhere’. The IBBC iPlayer launches successfully at the end of 2007, which gives viewers in the UK the opportunity to catch up on programs screened over the previous seven days. Also the BBC website grows fast with an average of 3.6 billion hits per month.

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3. What are the implications of the 1954 Television Act?

The Television Act of 1954 created Independent Television, a new advertising-financed service, to compete with BBC. This of course caused implications for the BBC, since they were no longer the only commercial television.


4. What was the influence of the introduction of commercial television?

5. What is included in the Television broadcasting Act of 1990?

– Rules introduced on cross-media holdings to prevent ownership being concentrated in too few hands. National newspaper owners prevented from holding more than a 20% stake in TV companies, with similar restrictions on cross-ownership between commercial TV, satellite TV and national radio stations. Loophole controversially protected Rupert Murdoch on basis that Sky was defined as a non-UK service.

– Continental companies allowed bidding for licenses or taking over license-holders. Companies allowed owning more than one license: holders of one of nine “large” franchises (e.g. north-west England) also allowed controlling one of six “small” franchises (e.g. south-west England).

– Independent Television Commission (ITC) becomes new “light touch” regulator governing terrestrial and cable-satellite services, with key task of awarding 15 ITV regional licenses and national breakfast license by auction: license to go to highest bidder, assuming it meets “quality threshold” and ITC does not invoke “exceptional circumstances” to choose an under bidder.

– Radio Authority set up, awarding licenses (also by “competitive tender”, i.e. auction) for three new national commercial stations and for many more local commercial stations.

– Broadcasting Standards Council given statutory status, although rulings not binding.

– Channel 5 to be set up, with license awarded by auction.

– Channel 4 to lose its link with ITV by being allowed to sell its own advertising, but not (as the free-marketers would have preferred) to be privatized. Advertisers had lobbied for the competition in the sale of air-time this ensured, but no one knew if the channel could generate enough ad revenue without compromising program standards. Hence the safety net – 14% of all commercial terrestrial ad revenue (the “funding formula”) – protecting its funding.


An Act to make new provision with respect to the provision and regulation of independent television and sound program services and of other services provided on television or radio frequencies; to make provision with respect to the provision and regulation of local delivery services; to amend in other respects the law relating to broadcasting and the provision of television and sound program services and to make provision with respect to the supply and use of information about programs; to make provision with respect to the transfer of the property, rights and liabilities of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Cable Authority and the dissolution of those bodies; to make new provision relating to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission; to provide for the establishment and functions of a Broadcasting Standards Council; to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 to 1967 and the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967; to revoke a class license granted under the Telecommunications Act 1984 to run broadcast relay systems; and for connected purposes.


6. What is the role of BBC’s Royal Charter, the BBC Trust and Ofcom?

»¿The Royal Charter is the legal basis for the BBC. It sets out the public purposes of the BBC, guarantees its independence, and outlines the duties of the Trust and the Executive Board.

The word “trust” is used in the name of the BBC Trust in an informal sense, to suggest a body which discharges a public trust as guardian of the public interest. The word is not used in its technical legal sense, and it is not intended to imply that the members of the Trust are to be treated as trustees of property or to be subject to the law relating to trusts or trustees.

Ofcom means the Office of Communications;



7. What broadcasting stations exist in the UK?

– Mention history, type of station, target audience and mission of the station.

8. What are the trends in television viewing in the UK?

9. What are the advantages of new forms of television viewing?

10. How is the television market financed in the UK?

11. What are the expectations for the future television landscape in the UK? (From a broadcasters point of view)

12. What is cross-media ownership?

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