Television underwent major transformations in the 1960’s. The emergence of ITV as a second channel provided some healthy competition to the BBC. ITV was made up of commercial stations from various parts of the country. ITV was established as a commercial venture. Its license allowed it to earn its revenue by encouraging firms to advertise its products or services during breaks in the programs. ITV was obliged to cater to certain groups of viewers as a condition of its license. This posed a problem for ITV in many instances in realizing advertising revenue.
The “Toddlers Truce” phenomena implemented by ITV and the BBC were perceived as a nuisance by ITV because it cut into its profits. “Toddlers truce was a period that lasted from 6-7 o’clock when programs for children ended. During this time screen went black and parents were able to put their children to bed. This was a great innovation that assisted parents in inducing their children to go to bed but for ITV it meant that they were unable to advertise for approximately an hour each day.
Pressure and lobbying from ITV eventually resulted in the government permitting the channel to abandon the practice. The BBC followed ITV’s example as it did not want to lose ground on rating. The BBC was set up as a public service broadcaster. The creation of ITV forced the BBC to improve the quality of its programming. BBC program’s in many respects were elitist and high brow and failed to attract a large segment of the population. ITV produced programs which appealed to a larger cross section of the British population.
The consequence of ITV commissioning program that were populist was that the BBC share of the audience decreased. Fierce competition from ITV was a good thing as far as viewers were concerned. The BBC could no longer take the audience for granted. It needed to justify its existence and the issuance of the license fee by making program’s that attract higher rating. In response to competition the BBC commissioned program’s which were down to earth and appealed to a diverse audience such as six-five special aimed at young adults.
Television had evolved by the 1960’s. Technology had advanced. It was know available in colour. The viewing hours were extended. The look and feel of the TV changed to a great extent. It was no longer restricted to 12 inch but was know available in 17 inch with “superb photographic quality” and improved sound. The TV set was know available increasingly streamlined. There were more portable and less boxy. The price of TV came down as a result to competition and this generated desire on the part of many people to purchase a TV.
The colour feature of Television, the declining price and the improvement in programs from both BBC and ITV led to an increase in ownership and viewing of television. Some people expressed concern about the viewing habit and the effect of TV on young people by holding demonstration. Concerns about degeneration as a result of contents of a sexual and violent nature were frequently articulated ironically on TV. Television by the 1960s had become for many an aspirational, desirable and affordable product