Tyne Tees merge with Yorkshire TV 

8 July 2024 tbs.pm/81384

 

The Journal masthead

From The (Newcastle) Journal for 21 August 1970

AN £8m. [£105m in today’s money, allowing for inflation – Ed] merger was announced last night between Tyne Tees Television and Yorkshire Television.

The two independent companies are to form a holding company which will serve more than 7,000,000 ITV viewers in the new combined area, ranking with the “big league” ITV companies such as Granada.

Identity

The Independent Television Authority, which has given the go-ahead for the deal, stressed last night that the separate identity of each company would be kept.

They will continue to operate as separate programme contractors for their respective areas.

The new holding company will bid for existing shares in the two companies.

Former Yorkshire shareholders will hold 71.5 per cent. of the equity capital of the company, whereas Tyne Tees shareholders will have a 28.5 per cent. stake.

A joint statement issued at midnight revealed that the shock link-up has been prompted to avoid viewing chaos in an area where the two companies overlap.

The problem has arisen over the new Bilsdale UHF 605-line [sic – 625] transmitter mast, which is opening next year in the North Riding.

 

 

Colour

The new transmitter, bringing colour to the area as well as better black and white pictures, will cut across the present boundary between the two contract areas.

In the statement, the companies say that it would have created “many problems” if either company operated the new transmitter exclusively.

Yorkshire shareholders will get three shares in the new company for every two now held. Tyne Tees shareholders will get three shares for every four held.

Yorkshire turned in profit figures of £689,000 [£9m] whilst Tyne Tees struggled with only £166,000 [£2.2m] profit margin.

Separate studios will be maintained at Leeds and Newcastle, but planning and co-production of programmes is likely, especially on local news and magazine programmes.

The statement says: “While the proposal to establish a holding company stems from the technical problems created by the transition to UHF transmission, the two companies consider their decision is constructive and will bring long-term benefits.

“The opportunity is created for the coordinated use of the management and production talents of the two organisations, and for deploying to the best effects the assets of both.

 

YTV transmitter map

1969 ITA map, when Bilsdale was still proposed to be allocated to YTV.

 

Problem

The result of the changes will be that from next year, some viewers who previously received Yorkshire will now get Tyne Tees programmes, though Tyne Tees will continue to carry network programmes produced by Yorkshire.

Mr Anthony Jelly, managing director of Tyne Tees, said last night: “It’s a not a merger. It’s an association.

“Tyne Tees and Yorkshire will retain their identities and separate responsibilities.

“Under this arrangement, Tyne Tees and Yorkshire will retain their identities and separate responsibilities.

“It’s an association of two companies in order to overcome an otherwise insoluble technical problem created by the signal strength from the Bilsdale transmitter.

“ITA have really only had an opportunity of measuring the strength of that signal since BBC-2 went on the air last November.

“In this case there’s not the normal marginal overlap which usually exists between one station area and another.

“The overlap from Bilsdale is of enormous proportions. The signal goes down as far as Leeds and Harrogate and can be got in parts of Newcastle.

“This wrecks all sorts of things.

“How do you decide what local programmes go where and whether they would be meaningful? It would prevent proper forward planning of programmes.

“Under its umbrella we shall be able to integrate management and to plan more efficient use of the capital investment of both companies.”

The two top positions on the holding company will both be occupied by men from Yorkshire Television.

Sir Richard Graham becomes the new chairman and Yorkshire’s managing director, Mr. Ward Thomas, will be the holding companies [sic] new managing director.

Professor G. H. Daysh, chairman of Tyne Tees, will be the holding company’s deputy chairman, and Mr. Jelly will also sit on the board.

He said: [it is unclear whether ‘he’ means Daysh or Jelly – Ed] “Yorkshire are the biggest shareholders in the holding company because they are a bigger company than we are. Their profitability and earning power is greater.

“I see the future as a positive situation. I see the alternative as a very dangerous one for the authority in the North if it hadn’t been overcome.

“The viewer, most important of all, would have been sitting punch-drunk in the middle.”

 

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