No (regional) branding please, we’re ITV1 

13 October 2009

ITV faces regional news battle

Conveniently forgetting about GMTV (in which ITV have, ahem, a majority shareholding), ITV plc is perhaps unsuccessfully trying to demand that any new regional news franchise operation – namely something that ITV wants but doesn’t want to pay for – is devoid of all branding therefore doesn’t somehow ‘conflict’ with the ITV brand.

In short, ITV wants all of the benefits of regional news under its ‘own’ brand without having to pay for it, which makes a great deal of sense given ITV plc’s past record of jettisoning all of its regional brands (Anglia, Central, Yorkshire, etc., even Granada), which did take a lot of time and effort.

Of course the very presence of GMTV – GMTV being an entirely separate Channel 3 franchise, even if this isn’t apparent to the huge majority of its viewers – makes ITV’s branding case weaker, but that naturally doesn’t prevent ITV plc from trying to demand its cake and eating it while it still can.

Although anyone from ITV plc that admits in a roundabout way that something as downmarket as GMTV fits in with their other content should at least be slightly embarrassed, to quote Michael Jermey: “Anything running on ITV1 needs to fit in with the look and feel of the channel, it can’t feel like it comes from a completely different place”.

(Memo to Michael Jermey – technically speaking, in this case it’s not ITV1 but Channel 3, as your Channel TV, STV and UTV colleagues will undoubtedly remind you.)

Anyway, as a result of any branding changes that might take place – pending any future change(s) in political administration vetoing some or all of this – ITV might even have a “Damascus conversion” on the benefits of true regional branding as it desperately tries to shore up a TV schedule that is still struggling despite some recent successes.

There again, based on current circumstances it almost certainly won’t.

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Tuesday 21 May 2024