The Independent Television Authority is a public corporation responsible for the provision of television services. It owns and operates television stations but the programmes they transmit are provided by programme companies. Formally, these companies are contractors to the Authority: in practice, they are partners in the independent television enterprise. Under the Television Act, the Authority is responsible for shaping, guiding and extending independent television. Its policy is to go forward from the establishment of independent television in selected areas of dense population to the provision of a full national service.
Independent television is financed entirely from advertising income. It is drawing no income from the licence fees or from other public funds.
The Authority regulates the system under which the programme companies sell time for advertisements. It also has wide responsibilities under the Television Act for securing proper standards in the programmes: and it is particularly concerned with such matters as accuracy in news, impartiality in matters of controversy, balance in subject matter and the maintenance of good taste. In these, and in all other matters, it maintains close and continuous contact with the programme companies it has appointed.