Sir Philip Gives ABPC’s TV Plans and Policy


The chairman of the Associated British Picture Corporation on his plans for the new ABC Weekend in 1955

Kinematograph Weekly masthead
From the Kinematograph Weekly for 22 September 1955

SIR PHILIP WARTER, chairman of ABPC [Associated British Picture Corporation], announced last week plans and policy for the corporation’s commercial television subsidiary company which will operate as programme contractors for week-end programmes from the Midlands and North.

The capital is increased to £500,000 [£10.5m today, allowing for inflation – Ed] and the ITA has been told that ABPC is prepared to put in further loan capital of the same amount from its own resources. Allowance has been made for up to 10 per cent. of the first half-million to be put up by leading provincial newspapers.

“We do not believe that TV is in any way going to replace the kinema,” said Sir Philip. “We are entering the television field because we believe that 28 years of catering for the public fit us for fulfilling the function of programme contractors in the new medium.”

He added that the corporation regarded the television venture as a regional and not a London operation. It was not concerned, he said, with making a profit in the first year, but was concerned that the prestige won as the result of 28 years of presenting entertainment to the public should be continued in its television programmes.

“The whole of our kinema operation is based on family business, and TV is essentially a form of family entertainment,” he said.

‘No Feature Film’

Sir Philip said he would encourage programmes of the “Current Release” type run by the BBC. There was not, however, any thought of televising feature pictures. The arrangements would not affect those the corporation has with CEA [Cinema Exhibitors’ Association].

When dealing with films programmes as contractors, said Sir Philip, ABPC films would not be favoured. Playing time would be open to all the film industry.

As reported in Kine, last week, Mr. Howard Thomas was named as managing director of the new television company. His colleagues on the board are the same directors as those of ABPC.

Mr. Thomas said operations would begin from Pathé House, and the London Pathé studios would be used for programmes which would have to originate in London.

Although no staff had yet been signed up, the plan would be to draw the best available men from journalism, advertising and other professions – but there would be no poaching from the BBC.

The company’s first programmes will be early next year from the Lichfield transmitter. The Manchester station is expected to open in summer, and Yorkshire at the end of the year.

About the author

Kinematograph Weekly was a trade magazine for cinemas in the UK published between 1889 and 1971

1 thought on “Sir Philip Gives ABPC’s TV Plans and Policy

  1. “He added that the corporation regarded the television venture as a regional and not a London operation.”

    Empty words as in 1958 ABC Television bought the Teddington Studios ( London Borough of Richmond upon Thames) as a major production center for network program including The Eamonn Andrews Show (1964 – 1968).

    “We do not believe that TV is in any way going to replace the kinema,” said Sir Philip.

    Well he did have to say that to reassure the movie theater owners.

    Roll on the years and Disney owns the network, ABC, for whom they made TV programs (eg Wonderful World of Disney), Universal owns the network, NBC, for whom they made TV programs (eg NBC Mystery Movie), and ABPC has long since disappeared.

    The entire ABPC library is now owned by StudioCanal, oart of Groupe Canal+, a subsidiary of Vivend (created from the water utility named Compagnie Générale des Eaux established by decree of Emperor Napoleon III).

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