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
It calls on the TV regulator, the Independent Television Commission, to
give publishers the right to run masthead programming on all commercial
Under current rules, masthead programmes, which replicate the title and
content of existing magazines, are permitted on cable and satellite
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
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.