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Television (Public Service Messages)

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 1 December, Official Report, column 543, what information the Central Office of Information has as to the number of viewers reached by public service messages on BBC and independent television, respectively; what specific steps he is taking to achieve greater audience penetration amongst those who watch predominantly BBC channels; if any fee is payable to the BBC for this service; and if he will make a statement.

The Central Office of Information receives regular reports from the BBC and independent television companies detailing the times at which public service messages were transmitted and the channels or companies which broadcast the material. However, this information does not include audience figures and it would need a disproportionate use of resources in the Central Office of Information to research individual audience figures for each public service message. In the 12 months to the end of September 1987, the independent television companies and the BBC reported details of more than 16,000 transmissions of Government-sponsored public service messages.Monthly guidance is given to encourage the greater use of topical public service messages, but transmission must be at the discretion of the broadcasting organisations. No fee is payable to the BBC or ITV companies for the transmission of public service messages.