LETTER: How ITV manages to agree

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From Mr Leslie Hill

Sir: Mathew Horsman raises some timely and interesting points about ITV (Media, 30 January). However, I was surprised by his comment that the companies "fight among themselves". Given that 11 separate companies run one channel, it is quite remarkable that there is agreement about so much and that the channel is managed so effectively.

What was missing from his analysis of the direction in which the market place is going was any mention of one of ITV's most fundamental features - provision of regional services across the nation. It is ITV's regional character that distinguishes it from its competitors and which, despite changes in ownership, remains and must continue to remain, the cornerstone of the channel.

The challenge facing us is to sustain, and capitalise on, our great regional strengths while exploring ways of exploiting new commercial opportunities. In the area of digital terrestrial television, for example, the British television industry is working to advance digital television swiftly. Both in Europe and the UK, the relevant companies and organisations are thrashing out the technical specifications, with a view to getting a transmission infrastructure built by the end of 1997 and digital receivers in the market by early 1998.

The ITV companies are working together on the creation of a transmission network on a regional basis. We are also examining what ITV's new digital programme service might be - over and above the simulcast service we are required to broadcast.

So there is more synchronised activity than first meets the eye. ITV is Europe's most popular channel. We intend keeping it that way.

Yours faithfully,

Leslie Hill



London, WC1

2 February