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Commercial Television

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1954

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22.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what representations he has received in favour of the establishment of a monopoly of commercial television in the London area; and what reply he has given.

Two, Sir: no reply has been given other than that this is a matter for the Authority when it is set up.

Is it not ironical that, according to the hon. Gentleman's answer, the same commercial interests which until recently were demanding competitive television are now demanding a monopoly of commercial television for themselves in the London area?

Neither of these two people to whom I have referred are commercial interests at all.

Will the hon. Gentle man give an assurance that there will be competition between commercial broad casters in the London area?

The Authority is under an obligation under the Bill to ensure competition, so far as it is practicably possible.

23.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applications to operate as television programme contractors he has received; and how many he still has under consideration.

My noble Friend has had preliminary discussions with 46 individuals or bodies who are interested. As I have already informed the House, it will be for the Authority, when it is set up, to make definite arrangements with programme contractors.

Is the hon. Gentleman seriously envisaging a situation in which a single commercial concern shall have a monopoly of stations in the London area? Will he give the House an assurance that such an eventuality cannot take place?

I am not envisaging anything particular at the moment as far as the point which the hon. Gentleman has raised is concerned. The selection of programme companies must rest with the authority.