Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120
TUESDAY 29 JANUARY 2002
120. Not just yours, everybody else's.
(Mr Prebble) A little comfort. It is slightly inevitable
in this process that one tries to address the world as seen from
the various businesses that we are running. However, I do think
that what underpins everything we are saying is that there is
no longer a situation where this kind of regulation for this kind
of organisation and this kind for this organisation is appropriate.
The only way we are going collectively to deliver all of our national
aspirations in broadcasting is to see them across the piece so
that we cannot be in a situation again where the public interest
is not served by the BBC being able to decide itself with its
public funding to move the news to ten o'clock and the commercial
channel, which you would expect to be freer in these things, has
the news scheduling decided for it by somebody else. Somebody
outside all of this ought to be able to say that it is not in
the public interest for two news programmes to be on at the same
time, let us see whether we cannot have some kind of rational
view of this which delivers a national service through the combination
of the various parts of it.
121. A question about football. In Scotland
the major clubs are looking at developing their own television
channel. How do you feel about that and how would you feel about
it if the English clubs decided to do something similar?
(Mr Prebble) It is a complex and fast moving situation.
All of the football interests are obviously seeking to maximise
value. To some extent the Scottish clubs have the problem we have
at the moment through owning Football League rights; they believe
they have a particular value and they cannot find a way in the
current system, particularly where one company dominates distribution
of football, to get something like value, so they are seeking
other ways of doing that. The Premier League pay-for-view rights
last time were wholesale to individual platforms on an individual
basis. It may be that is a way going forward to make this a little
bit of a fairer project for everybody concerned but it is a difficult
and complicated area which has been made more difficult by the
fact that costs of all of these things have really inflated to
such an extent that is probably in nobody's interest least of
all the consumer.
122. You want to pay less if your revenues go
down. Will you pay more if they go up?
(Mr Prebble) I suspect that that will follow.
123. So you would be happy to pay more if they
(Mr Prebble) Not happy, but we have recognised that.
What we will do is sign up to a range of commitments and what
we should like to do is have the flexibility to fund those commitments.
124. Would you consider your children's scheduling
to be public service broadcasting?
(Mr Prebble) Absolutely.
125. In that case, how do you justify extensive
commercials during toddler TV?
(Mr Jones) The reality of that is that children's
television on ITV is the one part of the schedule which does not
make money. We have been subsidising it ever since the beginning.
If we were not able to take advertising, which is heavily regulated
and is massively screened by both the BACC and the ITC, we would
struggle to fund children's programming, which contains drama,
126. No, I said toddler TV, which does not contain
drama or any of those things and is virtually advertising/toddler
TV in equal amounts as far as I can see and I see a lot of it.
(Mr Desmond) The whole area of children's advertising
is heavily regulated. We have self-regulation in terms of the
BACC which is a clearance facility in terms of what we can say
and what claims can be made. We are in regular dialogue with the
ITC and the industry as such takes a very clear view in terms
of how that is positioned in the market. Over and above that,
most children these daysand I have threeare exposed
to a huge amount of media, whether it is waking up in the morning
127. No, I specifically said toddler TV, so
we are talking two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds
and extensive commercial adverts being slotted in between, through,
around, all the time, a lot of it. Nothing to do with older children,
drama or anything like that.
(Mr Desmond) In terms of scheduling, we do not specifically
have a schedule which is aimed at toddler TV. We have a schedule
which is aimed at children under eight but not toddler TV.
128. So if an advertiser came to you and said
they wanted to target toddlers, your sales force would not be
able to identify that bit of scheduling, they would say, "Gosh,
(Mr Desmond) Overtly ITV takes quite a small proportion
of total children's advertising on television, throughout the
UK anyway. Most advertisers are targeting two groups. They tend
to aim at children under ten and then children between ten and
129. So your sales force could not place an
advert for a three-year-old. They have no idea. They would have
to say, "Sorry, it is under ten or nothing".
(Mr Desmond) They would not be able to place overtly
in that way. In terms of the BACC and how we work with the ITC,
having adverts simply aimed at three-year-olds is heavily regulated
and would not be allowed in that way.
Ms Shipley: I am very aware of the regulations.
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed
for that, gentlemen.