There’s no “I” in STV 

7 August 2009

Broadcast Now: Grade slams STV opt outs

Michael Grade in “cannot understand STV’s attitude” shocker; who would have thought it?

From a purely commercial viewpoint, STV’s decision to drop the new 9pm incarnation of The Bill seems to have been vindicated because yesterday’s episode had lost nearly a million viewers (3.6m versus 4.5m on 23 July) over the space of four weeks.

Which is a pity, since The Bill is currently shaping up to be one of ITV’s best efforts in recent times, although some of the blame could be apportioned to the fact that audience expectations for a post-watershed slot can be different compared to pre-watershed drama, as well as the fact that BBC One is currently a strong competitor in that slot.

STV’s reason for dropping such a high profile (and relatively popular) ITV series is regarded by some as revenge for ITV axing Taggart, even though there still hasn’t (to my knowledge) been a formal announcement made as to Taggart’s future. However STV has recently made some Taggart-related staff redundant which might have a significance.

Plus of course ITV has never, ever made a bad business decision (*cough* Friends Reunited *cough*), or produced hopelessly bad drama in recent times (*cough* Demons *cough*), have they?

Michael Grade may claim that STV is damaging the ITV brand with its insistence on the likes of Gregory’s Girl and South Park replacing some of ITV plc’s programming, but that ignores the uncomfortable truth that ITV has done a lot more damage to its own brand in recent times than Grade or ITV itself will ever readily admit to.

Therefore STV is now looking after its own brand, even at the potential expense of ITV and upsetting some viewers in Scotland, and the total impact of STV’s “meddling” may be far less than ITV would want to publicly admit to; in the case of The Bill it may actually be beneficial from a commercial viewpoint until the series regains some popularity.

Of course whether or not any or all of STV’s “adjustments” may actually be worth the time and effort remains to be seen, but at least someone is brave enough to challenge what could have been an ITV1 hegemony across the British Isles.

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Thursday 11 July 2024