The results are in 

26 August 2019


The 14th Annual General Meeting of Associated Television Corporation Limited was held at ATV House. Great Cumberland Place, London, W.1, on 25th September, 1969, at 12 noon.

The following are extracts from the Directors’ Report for the year ended 30th March, 1969:—

Sir Lew Grade. Your Board was truly delighted to learn on January 1st that Her Majesty had bestowed the honour of a knighthood upon Sir Lew Grade for his services to export. This was a magnificent recognition of the untiring efforts Sir Lew has made on behalf of your Corporation in overseas markets.

Queen’s Award. The Company’s 1968-69 year is memorable for another reason, for we were notified that your Company was to receive a second Queen’s Award to Industry for its export achievement.


The profit for the Group before Levy and taxation is £11,042,000, [£188,412,500 in 2019 allowing for inflation] a decrease of £1,327,000 [£22,643,000] from last year. After the payment of £5,431,000 [£92,670,700] for Levy and £2,498,000 [£42,470,500] in taxation, the Group profit is £3,113,000, [£53,117,800] which is £300,000 [£5,119,000] less than last year.

The Board has considered these results and has decided to recommend a final dividend of 12.9625%, making the total distribution for the year 28.4625% (same).

Shareholders’ Funds are £24,238,000, [£413,579,500] compared with £23,812,000 [£406,310,500] for 1968. [Shareholders’ Funds are the combined equity of a company – total assets if the business was liquidated, minus debts and other liabilities]


It must be recognised that ATV Network’s seven-day licence in the Midlands will be less profitable than the two-day London and five-day Midlands licence which ATV previously held. Not only is the income from advertising inherently lower, but serving of the capital required to provide the new Midlands studios complete with equipment for colour, rising costs, the heavy incidence of S.E.T. [the flat-rate Selective Employment Tax of 25s (£1.25 in decimal, £21 in 2019 allowing for inflation) for each male employed, 12/6d (62½p, £10.50) for each female. Companies that manufactured goods for export got the money refunded with an 7/6d (37½p, £6.50) per person bonus at the end of each year. ATV did not qualify for this rebate] and, above all, the increased rate of the Turnover Levy [a tax on turnover generated by selling advertising] combine to produce a situation which cannot be regarded as other than financially unsatisfactory.

It is because the margin of profits of the television operation is bound to be severely reduced that your Directors are pleased to be able to report the success of their policy of diversification. In the year under review the profits of ATV’s non-television subsidiaries already amount to no less than 51% of your Group’s total profits and, in the current year, the advantages to your Corporation of planned expansion outside the television network operation will become increasingly apparent.


New Midland Studios. We are well pleased with the progress in completing our new television studios at Paradise Centre in Birmingham which will be available for transmissions from the target date next month. However, it will not be before the early part of 1970 that all parts of the Paradise Centre Television Studios will be fully operational.

Programmes. The centre of ATV Network’s activities is in its programmes. In spite of the many difficulties of the past year, ATV has once again produced a wide range of programmes of all types.

There have been indications of a reduction in the total amount of viewing for television programmes. The largest proportion of the decline has fallen to BBC programming in spite of its control of two channels and monopoly of free advertising for its television programmes on BBC radio. In the last six months ATV Network’s proportion of the total television audience has risen substantially, and now stands at approximately 56%, with BBC 1 and BBC 2 combined having 44%.


During the course of the year, this division of the Group further extended the already wide range of its activities.

ITC’s sales effort embraces every category of film and television programmes — from documentaries and religion on the one hand through the whole range of drama series to international variety, sport and feature films.

It is unprecedented for any British company to have four major variety shows and four filmed series on the American networks in the same year.


The Stoll Theatre Corporation has had another successful year. Total admission receipts were slightly up although, due to rising costs and in particular the unfair burden of S.E.T., profits were marginally down.


Your merchandising and general publishing activities are now grouped together under Century 21 Enterprises. The merchandising division has been successful in obtaining exploitation rights for properties both inside and outside the field of television. We have been appointed exclusive licensees to handle a majority of CBS properties in the U.K. A new children’s comic titled “Joe 90” was successfully launched and “TV 21,” our other children’s weekly, celebrated its fourth anniversary,


Pye Records. During the year, we completed a re-equipment of our recording studios with the most modern equipment and we are now able to record in eight track. This technical improvement has attracted a great deal of further business to our studios from other record companies and third parties.

New overseas licensing arrangements have been made in many overseas countries, including Japan, Denmark, India and Pakistan. We are also delighted to report that exports increased by 41% over the previous year.

Soho Record Shops. During the year we completed negotiations to acquire the remaining 49% of the Alex Strickland chain of retail shops called Soho Record Shops.

Other Developments. Negotiations have been completed with General Recorded Tape Company of California to form a joint record company in the States and negotiations are progressing to form a joint company in the U.K. for the manufacture of recorded tapes, cartridges and cassettes. This is a development of major importance for our record and music division.

Music Publishing. In line with our policy of planned expansion in the music publishing field, an agreement was reached for the purchase of a 32.1% share in Northern Songs, additional to the 2.7% which ATV already owned. As part of the agreement, an offer was made for the purchase of the remaining share-holding in the company. This offer has now lapsed and your Board is keeping the position under review. Meanwhile, Mr. Jack Gill and Mr. Louis Benjamin have been elected to the Board of Northern Songs to represent your interests.

Welbeck Music continues to flourish. It has extended its agreements with the Music Corporation of America and has also formed two new music companies with M.C.A.


Ambassador Bowling. In spite of the very adverse conditions in the Bowling Industry which resulted in the closure of twenty bowling centres operated by competitors, your subsidiary company., Ambassador Bowling, has remained profitable.

Planned Music. Sales of contracts for Muzak continue to improve and have now reached a record level with a 20% rise on the preceding year.

Bermans. The past year turned out to be outstandingly successful for Bermans. Its profits increased by 70% to a record level. The Company’s established position as a leading costumier to the theatrical industry outside the United States has been further strengthened.


The past year has been a difficult one for the United Kingdom’s economy as a whole and this has produced many snags and problems for the managements of your Group of Companies. In particular the problems arising in Independent Television have been extreme. Your Board wishes to express its gratitude to the management of all ATV’s companies and their staff for their efforts over the past year.

Russ J Graham writes:

This is ATV’s first annual report, published in the Daily Telegraph on 26 September 1969, since the end of the previous ITV contracts. ATV had held Saturdays and Sundays in London (opposite Rediffusion on weekdays) and Monday to Friday in the Midlands (opposite ABC on weekends). The new contract gave them 7 days in the Midlands.

The Independent Television Authority had calculated that the revenue from the new contracts would divide up with ATV being the largest company, Thames second, then Granada, London Weekend and Yorkshire. In reality, Thames was a behemoth and got the most revenue, sucking advertising spend not only from LWT (who promptly almost collapsed under the pressure) but also from Anglia, ATV and Southern.

ATV’s board of directors don’t want to concede that Thames has bested them, and instead turn their ire on the ITA, a far easier target, for taking away their profitable London perch. They are also annoyed by the Selective Employment Tax, which was punishingly expensive (it would be abolished when the Tories returned to power in a few months, with the government income replaced by VAT) and the Television Advertising Levy, which was assessed against turnover rather than profit and was therefore had a disproportionate effect in the bottom line (again, the Tories would do something about this, halving the rate in 1970).

The Group’s diversifications were growing, albeit still remaining within the broadest of entertainment categories. This would lead to the company renaming itself Associated Communications Corporation in the 1970s. Stoll theatres still exist, now as part of the Really Useful Group, as does Planned Music, now called PEL.

The one remaining, as of 2019, part of ATV still to bear the name is mentioned in passing. By combining elements of Pye Records (Pye Group had provided the finance for launching ATV in 1955 but had not fared well and was sold off piecemeal before the bulk was acquired by Philips), Northern Songs (owners of the lyrics of The Beatles) and the now-forgotten Welbeck Music, ATV Corporation created ATV Music, now part of Sony but still carrying on business as ‘Sony/ATV Music Publishing‘.

You Say

3 responses to this article

Derek Allen 26 August 2019 at 2:39 pm

* [£188,412,500 in 2019 allowing for inflation]? Forward planning, that’s what I like to see. Typing error?

Russ J Graham 27 August 2019 at 4:33 am

Sorry, I’m not seeing what the problem is. On all Transdiffusion articles we provide a translation of monetary amounts into modern day values to provide context. We also clarify any terms that are no longer in common use. We use the international convention of putting these clarifications [in italics within square brackets] after the item that needs clarifying.

So, for instance, an article from 1969 mentioning the sum £11,042,000 would read:

“…before Levy and taxation is £11,042,000, [£188,412,500 in 2019 allowing for inflation] a decrease…”

Arthur Nibble 27 August 2019 at 1:55 pm

“We are well pleased with the progress”? I didn’t know Chas and Dave wrote company reports before they were famous!

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