§ 2.35 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government if it would not be possible for more B.B.C. Television transcriptions to be made available on a commercial basis to the television services of such Commonwealth countries as wished to have them, bearing in mind the need to take advantage of all available integrating factors in respect of Common wealth relations.]
THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, as stated in the Government White Paper on the Information Services (Command 225), the Government warmly welcome efforts by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the television contractors to the Independent Television Authority to sell television material abroad. The B.B.C. has for some years been increasing its export of television material. New television facilities have made it possible to supply programmes more quickly, and a special Department has been formed to press commercial sales of television programmes.
Commonwealth countries are the principal outlet for these exports. In the year ended March 31, 1960, some 500 B.B.C. television programmes were made available on a commercial basis in the world as a whole. The largest proportion of these went to the Commonwealth, and Australia was the chief buyer with 278 programmes, an increase of 70 per cent. over the previous year 702 The further expansion of these commercial sales must depend on the B.B.C.'s own sales organisation and on the readiness of Commonwealth broadcasting organisations to buy.
§ LORD CASEY
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for his reply. May I be allowed to ask whether it can be assumed from the noble Earl's reply that Her Majesty's Government are in general agreement with the proposition that every Commonwealth country should seek to disseminate information about its way of life and attitude of mind to all other Commonwealth countries, and that television is an appropriate medium to this end? May I also ask the noble Earl whether he is aware that, although television in Australia is relatively in its infancy, there are nearly one million television sets in use, and that an increase in the number of factual television transcriptions would be welcomed by a substantial majority of this large body of television viewers in Australia?
THE EARL OF HOME
Yes, my Lords. I am sure that television is a medium to which we must pay more and more attention in Commonwealth relations. I have no doubt that when the noble Lord, Lord Casey, gets home, he will be able to influence matters in that direction, because he is right in saying that the intelligent use of this medium can greatly help us in the Commonwealth field.