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THE STRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS OF REGIONAL TELEVISION IN BRITAIN AND GERMANY

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This paper compares the structural developments of regional television in Britain and Germany from the early days of broadcasting to the present from an institutional and organisational perspective. Drawing on a series of interviews with policy-makers and other key personalities, it is argued that the combination of political administrative borders and regional television boundaries, as exists in the German Länder, provides a fruitful basis for a strong regional television service. During the post-war period divergences between Länder borders and Consortium of Public-Law Broadcasting Institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany (ARD) broadcasting boundaries, palpably manifest in south-west Germany, have been harmonised, leading to thorough conformity. However, in centralised England questions of regionalism have strangely played such an important role in the evolution of television, and there are evident disjunctures between regional boundaries and television regions. This applies to the regional structure of Independent Television (ITV) as well as to the regional initiatives of the BBC, which, since the mid-1980s, increasingly takes over ITV's regional duties, fulfilling primarily political demands.
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Keywords: ARD; BBC; ITV; Regional television; broadcasting policy; television structure and organisation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2012

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