replies to Derby on TWW
Hill, chairman of Independent Television Authority, last night wrote to Lord
Derby, chairman of Television Wales and West Ltd., whose company last week
learned that the ITA would not renew its contract.
in a letter to Lord Derby: "All independent television contracts are made
for a fixed period of time. When a contract comes to an end comes to an end.
There can be no presumption that the new contract will be offered to the same
demands that all applicants for a new contract are given an equal chance of
success. Were that not so, the whole process of inviting applications by public
advertisement would be a farce.
cannot be said that all applicants have equal advantages. When its old contract
has expired and it seeks a new one, an existing company can offer its
performance but a new applicant only its constitution, its policy and its
'Vote of confidence'
if promise is never to be preferred to performance, then every television
company will go on for ever. No superiority in an applicant will suffice. He has
not been in, and so he shall not stay out. Is that the suggestion? If it is, I
was a time when TWW was offered its second contract.
your annual meeting in April, 1964, you said to your shareholders that this was
a 'gratifying vote of confidence.'
the time came for a new contract period.
authority chose the applicant [The Harlech Consortium] judged the better. Is
there something else it was supposed to do?"
complain that you were given no warning. How could we warn you? Until we had
studied both applications and interviewed both groups, we could not know whether
the new contract would be offered you or not.
refer also to the suggestion that the authority owes a duty to the shareholders
TWW since their money has financed the operation over the last years.
our estimate, anybody who made and retained an original investment of GBP1,000
in TWW has an investment worth, at Friday's price, about GBP10,000. He will also
have received a further GBP10,000 in dividends after tax.
recognise that not all present shareholders have enjoyed such profits and
capital appreciation, and that some may not have heeded the notice you gave in
1964 that the company's contract was for a limited period.
commanding fact is that the authority unanimously decided in favour of your
competitor. It is no pleasure to the authority to be parting in due course from
a company with which it has worked for 10 years. It would have been easier
[corrected] in so many ways to leave thing alone.
that is not what the Television Act says we should do. However adequate its
programmes, a company always lives with the risk that it will encounter a better
competitor. In the nature of things, it may not happen often. This time it