Sunday, 28 August 2016

Television hits the pubs and cinemas

The pub trade didn’t just have to worry about government policy and taxation. Technological developments had an impact, too.

The year of the below article is significant: 1953. There was a massive increase in TV ownership that year because of the coronation. Many people acquired sets specifically to be able to watch that event.

Television hits the pubs and cinemas
ONE out of six homes in Britain now has television. Licences in Leeds Post Office district show a 25 per cent. increase in six months, and have nearly doubled in the past year.

There is already strong evidence that television is exerting a powerful influence trade and leisure. Attendances at cinemas, public houses and lending libraries have fallen. Because of the increase in home entertainment, sales of bottled beer in off-licence shops are soaring.

Electrical dealers report no falling off in demand for ordinary radio, but a preference for smaller and cheaper sets.

Cinemas have felt the main effect of television. Mr. C. H. Whincup, vice-president of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association, said; "It has been evident in different parts of the country that television affects the cinema during the first year or two after the opening of a regional transmitter.

"Then cinema attendances start going up again. By that time the novelty of a television set is wearing off, and the financial strain of buying has eased.

"There was a similar situation when sound broadcasting began. Gloomy prophets said it would be the end of the theatre, cinema, gramophone companies and many book publishers."

Mr. Arthur Rank has said: "About 2,300,000 free cinemas have been created in our homes. Naturally, such competition must have a considerable impact upon the cinema business."

Mr. J. Beaumont, controller of Yorkshire group theatres, including Leeds Grand, said: "Television affected our audiences this summer, but ultimately it will benefit the theatre considerably by creating new stars."

A suburban public-house manager said: "Television has definitely affected our sales. It has created a shortage of ready money because people are paying for their sets by instalments, we notice the difference in custom particularly on Sunday evenings."

An off-licence shopkeeper only 100 yards away, said: "Television has sent our sales up. We are getting back the trade lost to the public houses before the war.

"Our trade originated in middleclass people entertaining home. I can always tell when there something good on television; we get a rush between 7.30 and 8 pm., and then nothing."

A Yorkshire brewery director confirmed that there is a trend towards bigger sales of bottled beer.”
Yorkshire Evening Post - Monday 02 November 1953, page 6.

Yet another reason why sales of bottled beer were increasing at the expense of draught. In pubs, it was preference or dissatisfaction with the quality of draught beer that boosted bottled sales. But for drinking at home, punters didn’t have much in the way of an alternative. They were pretty much forced to buy bottled beer. Though having said that, there were some old-fashioned Leeds off-licences that had draught beer in the 1970’s.

What interested me was what the offie owner said about winning back trade the pubs had taken from them pre-war. I wasn’t particularly aware of a swing to pub-drinking in the 1930’s I must remember to hunt down more on that.

No comments: