HC Deb 09 May 1960 vol 623 cc14-5W
74. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in what manner responsibility for the production and distribution overseas of recorded material for broadcasting is divided among the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Central Office of Information, the British Council, the television programme companies, the Duchy of Lancaster, and the overseas information departments of the Foreign Office, Colonial Office, Commonwealth Relations Office, and Board of Trade.

Dr. Hill

The arrangements for the production and distribution overseas of recorded material for broadcasting were described in paragraphs 9 to 21 of Cmnd. 225.

The principal source of recorded material for sound broadcasting is the valuable Transcription Service of the B.B.C. and the Corporation is responsible for the production and distribution overseas of this material. In recent years, the transcription operations of the B.B.C. have been extended in English and other languages. The other source for sound broadcasting material is the service of radio tapes produced by the Central Office of Information for the overseas departments, and distributed by the official overseas information services in Commonwealth and foreign countries.

In the case of television material, it is the Government's policy to encourage the fullest use overseas of British material. The B.B.C. and I.T.A. companies, acting on their own responsibility, produce and distribute recorded material to those countries where they can secure a commercial return, and enterprise by the Corporation and programme companies in seeking out markets is warmly welcomed by the Government.

The Government recognise the importance of encouraging the showing of British television material overseas in places where commercial showing would be unremunerative but where, in the view of the overseas departments and the Board of Trade, it would help in presenting Britain. The aim is to make the widest possible use of suitable material produced by the B.B.C, the television and film-producing companies, including that produced by, or for, industrial firms. This material is acquired on behalf of the overseas departments by the Central Office of Information and is distributed through a number of channels, including the official overseas services. Arrangements have been made to increase the sum available for acquisition of this material during the current financial year.

In addition, the production of television material by the C.O.I., in accordance with the requirements of overseas departments, contracting as appropriate with the different producers, has been substantially increased during the past three years. This material is made available by the official information services to local television stations overseas.

The total Government expenditure in 1959–60 on the production and acquisition of television material for overseas was approximately £139,000.

The British Council has begun to make use of television films in its work in teaching English overseas. The Council's requirements were met by arrangements made by the C.O.I., as explained in my Answer to the hon. Gentleman on 16th November, 1959.

My co-ordinating responsibility in these arrangements for use of the media of sound and television broadcasting is the same as it is for other media of overseas information work.