Britain's first pay-television service begins next Friday (January 7). It will run for three years?
SV Entrance to Pay-TV office
SV INT Postmaster-General Wedgwood Benn talks to Pay-TV executives
SCU Man shows money meter to P.M.G.
TV P.M.G. looking at meter on top of television
CU P.M.G. talks to officials
SV P.M.G. looks at T.V. controls
SV PAN FROM Lord Brabourne to P.M.G.
SV P.M.G. looks at machine which records the number of people viewing.
CU PAN Ditto
SV Telecine room
CU PAN Equipment
CU Television camera showing picture of P.M.G. speaking
CU PAN FROM Meter on top of T.V. set to picture being shown
TRANSCRIPT: P.M.G. (SEQ 13): "So you see, the whole nature of the pay television experiment is really this: will people pay to see programmes, of a kind that they might not otherwise be able to see, on television? Will the very existence of pay television widen the range of programmes so that people can enjoy them? Will this system help to keep alive things which otherwise might be killed by television? Can the box office be broken up and split up and put in your own home, for the meter that is by the side of the pay television set is really a box office. The people who are putting on pay television really believe that these things can be done, and in a three year experiment they are going to set out to prove it. A great deal will depend, in fact everything will depend, on how this experiment is received by the people who have the sets at home. I don't know what the answer is, but I would greatly like to know the answer to this problem because I believe it has considerable bearing on the whole future development of television in this country.
"And so, very sincerely, I would like to say good luck to those who are setting out upon the experiment, the people producing the programmes, and good luck to those of you who in your own homes will be taking part int it."
EDITORS: THIS IS EMBARGOED FOR AUTOMATIC RELEASE AT 1900 GMT ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 1966.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Britain's first pay-television service begins next Friday (January 7). It will run for three years in an experiment to find whether Britain needs pay-tv.
Pay-tv is government-licenced, but privately financed. To start with, the experiment is confined to 10,000 converted sets in two London suburbs. Later it will embrace Sheffield, in Yorkshire, to test provincial reaction.
About 50 hours of programmes will be transmitted from Pay-TV's London headquarters each week. They will be wide and varied in range -- recent movies, 'live' theatre and ballet, sport, education programmes and documentaries. The aim is to provide an alternative service to the established programmes of Britain's three regular television channels.
Prices will vary according to the time and type of programme, but the average cot will work cut to about 3 shillings an hour. Viewers will get a schedule in advance telling them how much to put in the meter for each particular programme.
Transmission will be done by a wire service -- as used in the Soviet Union -- rather than by a frequency. Pay-TV are confident that the experiment will prove a success.
The button to start the service will be pressed by Mrs. Harold Wilson, wife of the British Prime Minister. But the actual opening will be done by Mr. Wedgwood Benn, who as Postmaster-General is responsible for television in Britain. This is part of his speech:--