Parliament created the Independent Television Authority (ITA) in August 1954 for ten years, and then extended its life for another twelve years to 1976. Its function, as defined by the 1964 Television Act, is to provide public television services of information, education and entertainment.
The Authority owns and operates transmitting stations, and selects and appoints contractors (the programme companies) to provide the programmes for transmission from these stations. The programme companies obtain their revenue from the sale of advertising time in their own areas. Neither the Authority nor the programme companies receive any income from licence fees or other public funds.