Publishers step up fight for masthead terrestrial TV shows

Magazine publishers have stepped up their campaign for the approval of masthead programming on terrestrial television by sending an open letter to the Times.

Magazine publishers have stepped up their campaign for the approval

of masthead programming on terrestrial television by sending an open

letter to the Times.



The letter, sent last week, was initiated by the Periodical Publishers

Association and signed by the heads of 18 leading UK publishing hou-ses

- including Michael Heseltine, the proprietor of Campaign’s publishing

company, Haymarket.



It calls on the TV regulator, the Independent Television Commission, to

give publishers the right to run masthead programming on all commercial

TV channels.



Under current rules, masthead programmes, which replicate the title and

content of existing magazines, are permitted on cable and satellite

channels only.



The letter declares: ’In principle, we believe there is no case for

allowing masthead programmes on cable and satellite channels while

barring them from terrestrial transmission. As Lord Gordon of

Strathblane observed in a recent House of Lords debate on this question:

’It’s like decriminalising cannabis for redheads.’’



Ian Locks, the chief executive of the Periodical Publishers Association

- a signatory to the letter - has helped magazine publishers lobby for

masthead programming on terrestrial TV. He said: ’We’re very hopeful

that the Independent Television Commission will take the only logical

course open to them to allow greater freedom in terms of masthead

programming.’



The letter makes the point that extending masthead programming will

’enhance the diversity and quality of programmes’.



It was only last year that the ITC agreed to allow masthead shows on

cable and satellite channels, but decided it would be not be suitable to

allow such programming on commercial terrestrial TV.



The National Magazine Company was one of the first publishing houses to

take advantage with the Zest Beauty Show and the Good Housekeeping Show

on Granada Sky Broadcasting.



The ITC will meet later this month to decide whether to extend its

sponsorship code to accommodate the publishers’ wishes.



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