Monday, February 16, 2009

Bleak outlook for ITV

On his blog last week, Guild member Stephen Gallagher lamented the decline of ITV.
ITV in the 60s was a robust, distributed, internally competitive, regionally-aware confederation of strong-management businesses. In the 70s, when I worked for Granada, I was part of a vigorous production centre bursting with an undifferentiated mix of low and high culture. I watched Marc Bolan tape a show in the studio and then went upstairs and peed in the next stall to Laurence Olivier.

Now it's an inflated, vulnerable, London-based monolith with no identity, no staff loyalty, no viewer loyalty, and a helpless management.
Sadly, if an analysis by Maggie Brown and Chris Tryhorn in today's Media Guardian is correct, the decline in advertising revenue suggests that things are going to get worse.
It seems inevitable that director of programmes, Peter Fincham's budget for original drama - so often seen as ITV's USP - will be most vulnerable, especially for non-soap dramas that fall outside prime-time. The decision to move The Bill from twice weekly at 8pm, to once a week at 9pm, represents a cut of 90 hours a year of expensive drama.

For connoisseurs of the art of TV scheduling, there was a watershed moment when the venerable clip show It'll be Alright on the Night ran on Christmas night, only to be repeated three days later on a Saturday night.

According to one source, executives are already holding furtive conversations in corridors about preparing for the worst- case scenario - an emergency schedule consisting of just soaps and repeats. In production, one drastic measure is under consideration: rationalising ITV Productions in the north of England, where there are two big studio complexes.



    The core function of any television company is to make telly shows and cutting down on that just heightens any problem. Not only does ITV need product with which to fill their screens, but a great deal of any telly company's income comes, or should come, from overseas sales, repeats, DVDs, downloads, etc for many years to come. Good new programming doesn't necessarily have to be expensive... I'm the Queen of the low budget... but they do have to be made.

  2. Our TV service seem to have gone the way of ITV All we see are reruns and the same old movies shown every year there is only 2 up to date soaps all the rest are more than 1year old especially the american ones We tried DSTV The movies were newer but they were repeated more than 5 times.Even the reality shows were repeats so we are following the world trend like ITV


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