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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:09 am   #1
MartinMarris
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Default Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

I have seen several mentions of the difficulties encountered by UK TV manufacturers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Can someone explain what caused this?

I was reminded of it by reading an article today in Les Echos, a French business-oriented newspaper (http://tinyurl.com/ybyx7d87 -- in French). It turns out that TV sales in France collapsed by 46 percent in the first six months of this year: total sales of 2 million units compared to 3.9 million units in the year before. This is causing a big buildup in store inventory, especially of high-end sets, and a lot of discounting in the form of cash-back offers.

This is partly because sales were boosted unusually high last year by the switch in the standard used in France for over-the-air TV (from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4) and also by the European Cup football. It is also being blamed, in the long term, on the increasing use of smartphones, tablets and PCs to watch TV.

But the general analysis is that after a big boost last year, sales are likely to stabilize at around 5 million flat-screen units per year, compared to 4.5 million units per year in the days of CRT TVs. So, a mixed picture.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:18 am   #2
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

By the end of the 50s/early 60s everyone had a TV set. The market was then for 'repeat business' which is bound to be slower than first-time adoption.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:19 am   #3
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

If this is true (and I don't know that it is) it may be because there had been a surge in TV buying in the second half of the 50s as commercial TV was rolled out across Britain and the BBC sharpened up its act.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:20 am   #4
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

TV sales were buoyant enough up to the end of 1960 but in the following year all that indecision about future line standards scared the general public off buying a new set. 1961 was a terrible year for the trade.
In those 1960 Trader books there is no mention at all about 625 lines.

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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:21 am   #5
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

There's some discussion of the effects of late-1950s Government "stop-go" economic policy on TV sales in "The Setmakers".

Basically, purchase-tax [which made up a large proportion of the sale-price of a TV] and the deposit needed for a hire-purchase or a rental, were varied several times in short order.

Imagine if VAT went from 8% to 40% to 45% to 10% to 40% in a period of 3 years, and at the same time you alternatively needed 1 month's, 5 month's, a year's a month's and 9 months upfront deposit if renting.


[Remember also that a TV was still an expensive item so if you were saving for one and the price suddenly shot up you'd might find you needed to save for quite a few months more before being able to afford it]

Industry trying to plan production in this environment would get into a mess: there was at one time a massive stockpile of unsold TVs when a market-slump happened because of sudden changes in Government tax policy.

There was also the 'ramp-up' in sales/rentals with the coming of ITV - after a few years, once the demand for ITV-capable TVs was largely satisfied a market slump set in.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 11:21 am   #6
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

There were a number of factors causing TV manufacturers problems in the late 50's early 60's.
Uncertainty in new tv standards.
Uncertainty about colour TV.
High sales tax on electrical goods.

Possibly too much manufacturing capacity and market saturation in those areas with transmitter coverage.

Probably other causes, everyone may not agree with my thoughts, it will be interesting to see what others think.

Edit, well you have a good range of reasons in three minutes
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 12:06 pm   #7
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

I wonder how many customers hung on until all of the stations were on 625?
That would see the end of clunky dual standard sets that were expensive to maintain.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 12:56 pm   #8
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

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I wonder how many customers hung on until all of the stations were on 625?
That would see the end of clunky dual standard sets that were expensive to maintain.
This would be the late 60's for the area I worked in, it's a bit off topic but most of our customers were hanging on to their dual standard sets and waiting to get get a colour set with all three channels not BW.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 2:30 pm   #9
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

Quote Nuvistor: Possibly too much manufacturing capacity and market saturation in those areas with transmitter coverage.

By the end of the 1950s there was too many manufactures in the UK making TV sets. At the end of 1960 Emerson, Portadyne, Masteradio, Peto-Scott and Cossor had all been taken over by much larger concerns or just simply gone out of business. EMI had gave up making TVs in 1957 and struck up a deal with Thorn the previous year to make and market home consumer electronics under the HMV and Marconi brands.
Beethoven and Raymond gone by 1958, later products marketed as Emerson.
In 1959 Pilot had gone to Ultra Electric which in turn was taken over in 1961 or 62 by Thorn. Not sure about Philco, the American company stopped making TVs at the end of 1960 and all later Philco products were made by Thorn. I think it was a similar arrangement like EMI where the Philco brand name was licenced to Thorn.
In the late sixties Philco reappeared in the UK as Philco-Ford.
Murphy taken over in 1961 by Rank-Bush. 1962 Ekco taken over by Pye which in turn was taken over by Philips.
Kolster-Brandes continued until the seventies when the Footscray, Kent works simply assembled sets supplied from SEL Germany.

Many others come to mind; Agosy, Regentone and RGD become brands used by STC. RGD brand gone in the early seventies, everything sold as KB.

Decca kept on going up to the acquisition of the company in 1981 by Tatung.

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Old 13th Sep 2017, 2:47 pm   #10
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

I forgot about Alba. Company gave up making TV sets in 1963 and continued to distribute through wholesalers TV sets made by Philips and later by Thorn.
Kept on making radiograms and audio separates during the seventies.

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Old 13th Sep 2017, 3:49 pm   #11
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

Interesting statistics from BARB.
From 1956 to 1960 the number of TV homes rose from 5.7 million to 11million. The next 10 years had a steady yearly increase until most homes had a TV by 1970. In those 10 years around 4.5 million extra homes had a TV, some would have had 2 TV's.
Those numbers show the saturation that the late 1950's had for the TV market.

http://www.barb.co.uk/resources/tv-ownership/
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Old 15th Sep 2017, 9:14 pm   #12
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

Interesting stats. I wonder why there's no BBC2 Homes column?

Graham.
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Old 16th Sep 2017, 11:57 am   #13
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Default Re: Why Did UK TV Sales Collapse in late 50s/early 60s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post

Interesting stats. I wonder why there's no BBC2 Homes column?

Graham.
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Are the stats. collected for advertisers' purposes?
That would explain the lack of figures for BBC2.
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