Most domestic satellite broadcasters rely heavily on acquired material, although there are notable exceptions. For example, Sky News is produced and packaged in-house, while Sky Sports produces its own live coverage of sporting events and also buys programming on the international market. QVC broadcasts 24 hours a day, of which 17 hours is live material. In addition, Sky One, Sky Travel, UK Living, The Discovery Channel, The Family Channel, TLC, The Disney Channel, TCC, The History Channel, Nickelodeon, MTV Europe and VH-1 all either produce or commission a proportion of original programming.
Although the first cable franchises were awarded by the government in 1984, the first real signs of industry did not materialize until the late 1980s. Most urban areas either have cable or are in the process of being 'cabled'. Some 15 million homes across the UK now fall within areas franchised for cable; over 6 million homes are able to receive cable television and roughly 10 million homes should have access to cable services by the end of 1996. Of over 130 cable franchises that have been granted, approximately 80 were operational by the end of 1995. The three main programming companies supplying UK cable operators with material are United Artists Programming, European Television Networks and British Sky Broadcasting.
Further information about the cable industry is available from the Cable Communications Association and the ITC.
Independent Television Production Companies
There are more than 1,000 independent production companies in the UK The material they produce for broadcasting embraces everything from drama to current affairs and commercials. They also make music videos, corporate videos and feature films. Some companies employ their own full-time technical and production personnel, but the majority keep numbers to a minimum and hire freelance staff as and when required.
Independent production companies supply the vast majority of British programs on Channel 4, and both ITV and the BBC are legally obliged to commission at least 25 per cent of their output from independent producers.
The Producers' Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) is the trade association for the independent sector.
'Teletext' is a generic term which refers to the text information services broadcast alongside the regular television picture signals. Around 75 per cent of all television sets sold in Britain today are teletext-equipped.
The two major teletext operators in the UK are Teletext (with a capital'T'), which is transmitted on ITV and Channel 4, and the BBC's Ceefax. Both operators update their services hundreds of times each day. Channel 4 also commissions an independent teletext company, Intelfax, to produce 4-Tel, a brief program information service, while BSkyB produces Fastext for its themed channels. The major teletext broadcasters are staffed by journalists, subtitlers, engineers and sales and marketing personnel.
Foreign Broadcasting Organizations
Many foreign broadcasters, such as the US networks, have offices in London. The key posts in these organizations will be held by foreign nationals, but it is possible that a number of support posts may be open to British subjects. An embassy should be able to supply the names and addresses of its country's broadcasting organizations that are running a London office.
The Independent Television Commission (ITC)
The ITC licenses and regulates all commercially funded television in the UK (excluding S4C). Its remit covers the output of terrestrial broadcasters, such as ITV and Channel 4, as well as that of satellite and cable companies. The Commission ensures that the overall mix of program service caters for a wide range of tastes and interests.
The ITC has the statutory powers to impose penalties on licensees if they do not comply with its various codes on program content, advertising, sponsorship and technical standards. Penalties can also be imposed if licensees do not keep to their license conditions. Compliance is monitored through the Commission's London headquarters, its regional offices and with the assistance of ten regional Viewer Consultative Councils.
The Radio Authority regulates and licenses the UK's independent radio industry. This includes all non-BBC local, community, cable, satellite and restricted services (such as 'special event' radio and hospital radio). It awards licenses, plans frequencies and monitors programs and advertisements. The Authority has the power to impose sanctions on any licensees that break its codes of practice.
Members of the Radio Authority are directly appointed by the Department of National Heritage. The Authority's only source of income is from annual fees paid by the licensees.
Vacancies in the organizations mentioned in this article are generally advertised in the trade press (for example, Broadcast), the media pages of the national broadsheets (for example, the Guardian on Mondays) and, occasionally, local papers. Technical or specialist posts will often be advertised in the appropriate specialist publication. A summary of BBC vacancies is regularly updated on Ceefax.