Britain’s ITV network, a ragbag of fifteen regional franchises, mostly owned either by Carlton Communications or Granada Media, is to unify its brand in a major £100 million ($146.44m; €155.31m) relaunch timed to coincide with its autumn schedules.
The revamp is triggered by the ratings drubbing ITV has received, not only at the hands of the publicly-owned BBC, but also from Channels 4 and 5 plus satellite and cable broadcasters.
As from September, ITV’s regional channels will no longer be identified as ‘HTV’, ‘Granada’ or ‘Anglia’. Instead viewers will be welcomed by a single ITV1 logo and greeting. Regional idents will survive – but only prior to and during programmes with localised content.
Last month ITV appointed two joint managing directors – Mick Desmond from Granada Broadcasting and Enterprises, and Clive Jones, former chief executive of Carlton Channels [WAMN: 13-May-02]. Insiders say the appointments signal the unofficial onset of merger between ITV’s two commanding franchisees.
Meantime, ITV’s dominant duo admit that the recent travails at (now defunct) ITV Digital diverted both funding and management attention from the parent network, allowing BBC1 to overtake ITV in the ratings battle for the first time since ITV was founded in the 1950s.
But the fight back is on. New brooms Desmond and Jones are negotiating for a significant increase in the ITV1 programme budget for 2002/03, to “invest ahead of a recovery”, hiked from its current level of £750m possibly as high as £850m.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff