Television had, until recently, a social and cultural purpose. The BBC, and to a lesser extent ITV and Channel 4, were committed by the legal instruments establishing them to develop and maintain these purposes. With the enlargement of the range of choices for viewers by digital television and the provision of access to cable and satellite TV and the Internet, the role of the terrestrial television channels is being diluted. The authors examine the effects of this and consider whether anything can be done to maintain the standards and quality of television at a time of unlimited competition.
GEORGE WEDELL is Professor Emeritus of Communications Policy in the University of Manchester. He is author/co-editor of many publications relating to radio and television broadcasting and was general editor of the Media Monograph series. - BRYAN LUCKHAM, Consultant, was previously Director of Advanced Studies for the European Institute for the Media in Manchester and Dusseldorf. He is the author of books and published articles on mass media and primary communications.