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BBC was set up as the British Broadcasting Company by a group of manufacturers of wireless equipment and was the world’s first ‘national broadcaster’
General Strike. Independence of the company was called into question by government and trade unions.
British Broadcasting Corporation was founded with a Royal Charter and granted a licence to broadcast.
An experimental television service began. A trial period for two different technologies were used but John Logie Baird’s mechanical system was quickly dropped. Electronic 405 line system became standard.
Signal could be received by 81 per cent of the population. The television service required a viewing licence on top of the existing radio licence.
Number of television licence payers had risen to four and a half million.
Controversial introduction of ‘commercial’ or ‘independent’ television (ITV). It was seen as ‘vulgar’ by some middle-class audiences.
BBC introduces a second channel with colour.
Colour transmissions began. The ‘switchover’ to the new 625 lines took over twenty years.
The old system was finally switched off.
Channel 4 went on air and widened the range of programming and served a diverse range of audiences not served by the BBC and ITV. Funded via advertising revenue. It commissioned independent companies as a ‘broadcaster- publisher’ rather than makes its own content. It became a third source of news and current affairs during a period of great social unrest in the UK.
New television service was constrained, in terms of both geographical and social ‘reach’. Limited service for the metropolitan middle class and it was a long time before the single BBC channel was widely available
Closedown of broadcasting because of World War 2
ITV companies were obliged to operate on a purely regional basis. they were only serving a distinctive community and abiding by tight regulatory controls laid down by the franchising authority. Filmed American series became commonplace on UK television during this period and ‘live links’ via satellite introduced overseas news and joint broadcasting events.
This period saw the UK introduction of satellite broadcasting and the re-emergence of cable television, offering a variety of channels on broadband cable.
The Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996 legislated for a new television environment in which regulation of ‘independent television’ was loosened and Channel 4 gained control over its ad revenue.
Freeview became a joint project between BBC, BSkyB and Crown Castle. It was set up as a free DTT service when ITV’s ONDigital service failed in 2002.
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