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Media: Talk of the Trade: Hard TV times

CHANNEL 4's decision to peg its 1993 programme budget to pounds 184m, so that for the third year running it has not even risen in line with inflation, underscores warnings at the Edinburgh Television Festival that small- scale independent producers, living from one commission to the next, should get out before things become worse.

Independent Television Commission figures show that average expenditure on an hour-long programme (excluding TVam) fell from pounds 176,000 in 1987 to pounds 69,000 in 1991. Channel 4's Big Breakfast, which starts on 28 September, will have no more than pounds 15,000 an hour to spend. But it could be worse. BSkyB's average per hour in March 1992, before the big spend on football, was pounds 3,450.