ATV financial results: 1980


Lord Grade on Associated Communications Corporation’s 1980 results

“The profit figure of £14,101,000 is the second highest in the 25-year history of the company. Indeed, had it not been for a national industrial dispute which kept the whole of Independent Television off the air for eleven successive weeks, the profit would undoubtedly have exceeded the record of £16,308,000 which was achieved in 1978/79”

[£14,101,000 is £57.5m in today’s money allowing for inflation. £16,308,000 is £66.5m – Ed]

Lew Grade


ATV’s current contract for seven-day-a-week television runs until 31st December 1981. By the end of 1980 the Independent Broadcasting Authority will reach its decision on the award of new contracts which will run for eight years. For the period of these contracts the Midlands franchise area will be a dual region comprising the East and West Midlands and ATV has applied for the contract.

A new company, ATV Midlands Limited, has already been set up and a second studio complex is planned for the East Midlands.

T.V. programmes

Initially a proportion of ATV productions will continue to be made at Elstree. Thereafter, Elstree will become available for additional television productions and for special programmes for export.

A new company, Daybreak Television, in which ACC has a minority interest, has made an application for the proposed nationwide breakfast-time television franchise, and Elstree has been suggested as the ideal production centre.

Transdiffusion analysis

There’s bumper profits, but ATV Network is clearly in trouble. Lew Grade has reluctantly let the IBA cross every single red line he drew. Elstree to be detached from ATV. A new, expensive, studio centre to be built near Nottingham. ACC will not be able to dictate the composition of the board, which will also have to go back to the ‘best practice’ of having an independent non-executive chairman rather than one of Lew’s handpicked henchmen in the job.

Everything else is now just ticking over. The rest of ACC is just sitting there, making money but doing nothing. This is prime takeover territory: the City is always interestingly prepared to see a boring-but-profitable company shaken up, or even split up, if it seems to be doing nothing exciting.

It will only take one disaster and the City will be crying out for large structural change. Two disasters and it will be over. Two disasters and a scandal at Jetsave? Well, it’s all over.


Our subsidiaries now embrace all three aspects of production, distribution and exhibition and the acquisition of Classic Cinemas place more than 140 screens at our disposal. The full-length ‘Muppet Movie’ has broken box office records and its much sought after successor is already in production. Altogether, the film division production schedule has never been stronger.


The theatre division enjoyed a year of truly outstanding successes and its profit figure of £1.1 million [£4.5m] stands at an all-time record. The year saw packed houses for Yul Brynner in ‘The King and I’ at the Palladium and ‘Annie’ at the Victoria Palace. The theatrical costumiers, Bermans & Nathans, established new overseas records and their work is to be seen in London’s exciting new attraction – ‘The Palladium Cellars’.


Our main music publishing subsidiary, ATV Music, rose to be the No. 2 company in UK music publishing, and profits and prospects are both excellent. Its subsidiary company, Bruton Music, is now firmly established as a prominent supplier for both television and films.


In common with all other record companies, Pye Records had to face a world-wide recession within the industry. Special attention is now being paid to the important new development of video cassettes and video discs.


The results of Bentray Investments – up from £3.5 million [£14.3m] to £4.2 million [£17.1m] – are impressive and the acquisition of Intereuropean Property Holdings has added a new portfolio, including the important Eros site at Piccadilly Circus.

Telephone answering

For the second year in succession the results of Ansafone have been outstandingly successful and in spite of competition at home and abroad the growth rate has been one of 40%.


Two Bermudian companies were purchased by Marbarch Insurance Company and a new company, Bryanston Insurance, has been established. Subsidiaries have been set up in Australia, Hong Kong and Gibraltar, and trading has been profitable throughout.


The Group acquired an 85% stake in Jetsave, a company which is both a pioneer and a leader in the rapidly growing field of trans-Atlantic holiday travel.

About the author

As a public company with shareholders, ATV was required to publish a detailed Annual Report at the end of each financial year. It was common to also publish a Chairman's Statement, summing up the report in more readable language.

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