TV franchise – the picture is unclear 

18 October 2018

From the Newcastle Evening Chronicle for Monday 29 December 1980

SPECULATION mounted today over the future control of Independent Television in the North-East. For, in spite of Tyne Tees’ victory in the franchise battle, there is still uncertainty over who is to actually own the company.

Confusion reigned today at the London headquarters of Trident TV, the present owners – and at Tyne Tees’ two rivals for the franchise bid, Norseman and Television North.

Andrew Quicke

The Independent Broadcasting Authority, which controls ITV, has given Trident sixty days to come up with a new formula.

Trident, which also has safari park interests, has been banned from keeping control of either Tyne Tees or Yorkshire Television.

But it is not clear whether Trident can still own shares in the companies, or must sell up altogether.

What the IBA has emphasised is that Tyne Tees must have more influence within the North-East.


Tyne Tees and Yorkshire will be “managed separately in their own areas and each will be properly capitalised with adequate reserves, resources, and facilities,” says the IBA statement.

“Opportunities for shareholders will be open to people living in the two areas, including those who came forward to support the rival consortia.”

The IBA expects formal plans from the new Tyne Tees company at the end of February.

And if they don’t materialise the North East contract will be up for grabs again.

But where is the cash to finance the new Tyne Tees to come from m the recession-hit North-East?

Mr Andrew Quicke, deputy managing director of the Television North consortium, made it clear that he was not despondent about losing the franchise bid.

Paul Nicholson

“Television North remains extremely interested in the situation. The story is by no means over,” he said.

“We are having urgent talks with our backers and subscribers today about what can be arranged in the light of the new situation.”

Norseman chairman, and Vaux Breweries boss, Mr Paul Nicholson, said her was still studying the IBA statement.

“Our bid was made on the basis of what we wanted to do. We could have to reconsider anything new.” he said.

A Trident spokesman admitted they were seeking immediate talks with the IBA to find out exactly what their statement meant.
“Discussions will take place with the IBA in the coming weeks in the course of which their detailed wishes will be clearer – as will ways and means of meeting them without adversely affecting the programme companies,” said the spokesman.

“Whatever the outcome we believe the interests of the Trident shareholders can and will be well well protected.”

An IBA spokesman said no statement was being made about whether Trident would be able to have any holdings in the new Tyne Tees and Yorkshire TV companies

And the possibility of a public issue of shares, which means the man in the street could buy a slice of Tyne Tees, has not been ruled out by the IBA.

Everything will depend on what happens in boardrooms and the IBA headquarters in London in the next few weeks.

Jane Bolesworth was a staff reporter at the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. She later became a producer at Tyne Tees Television and was Planning Editor at ITV News Tyne Tees and Border at the time of her death in 2014.

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