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Why the ITV homogenization was a necessary step.

This is a small essay about why ITV was homogenized.

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FR
FinRic
If you know the first thing about the history of ITV, you know that the Broadcasting Act 1990 turned ITV into a huge game of Monopoly: ITV Edition. As well as the IBA (basically the overseers of all the ITV regions) being abolished. As well as by the 2010s all of England's ITV companies were called ITV 1. The companies who acquired all these franchises were Carlton and Granada.
With all that background let me talk about why all these stations was maybe a good thing. If ITV stayed as separate regional companies it would be harder to get the name of ITV out there. Take the 1989 generic look for example, because each regional franchises were in control of the identity of their channels some, like Anglia, TSW, Ulster Television and TVS turned down the look outright. Granada and Yorkshire also made changes to the main sequence and logo.
My second point is fragmentation, say if you lived in my region (Lincolnshire) and was used to seeing Yorkshire Television idents and went over to Cornwall to see some family, instead of seeing Yorkshire Television idents you would see TSW or WestCountry idents. To some this is a bonus; it felt like you were in a foreign country discovering a new channel, but I think that's a downside.
My third and final point is if ITV wasn't homogenized then ITV would have been turned into a game of Monopoly with people buying each other and probably new stations being created, like if Carlton wanted to make a station for Wales they might make Wales Television (generic name I know) which would confuse people if stations were constantly changing name and logo.
My conclusion is ITV now is much easier to understand, and even franchises like STV my family regards as separate from ITV PLC, and is much simpler to understand, which is never a bad thing.

NOTE: I know a lot of people like regional ITV, but I believe that you need an authority to control these channels.
HC
Hatton Cross
. As well as by the 2010s all of England's ITV companies were called ITV 1. The companies who acquired all these franchises were Carlton and .


Just a point.
The companies themselves still retained the regional names for the benefit of Companies House. ITV1 was only the public facing branding name - and to also put in the minds of viewers, that elsewhere in the digital spectrum there was also ITV2, 3 and 4.

But, I'm with you' A fragmented regional structure, with all the companies fighting for networtk airtime and a lot of duplication of roles across the country, makes no sense in the multi channel digital age.

Most viewers don't care that ITV is now ITV when it was once Central, TVS or Granada. They just want Coronation Street to start at 7.30 or The Chase to be on every weekday at 5.
ST
stuart621
Alternatively, the regionalisation of ITV was its USP. 15 different companies producing content from different areas of the UK in their own style, giving the network a very distinctive feel. Now it’s pretty bland and like many other channels out there which is a great loss in my opinion. People had an attachment to their own region but they knew it was part of a bigger structure. Yes, people don’t care now because for many people the days of individual ITV idents before programmes are long gone. I don’t think the loss of regionalisation has been a good thing and it means that there is very little (if any) regional output now apart from local news. Again, this is what set ITV apart and made it a better channel previously.

OK, the big 5 produced most of the output but there were also many, many great programmes shown nationally which were created in the smaller regions.

Rather than seeing ITV as fragmented, I think there was strength in the regional setup and it’s sad that this has been lost.

I’m glad that STV has managed to hold on but it’s a bit ironic that they have more programmes shown nationally by the BBC and othe networks than they do on ITV.
JO
Jonwo
It was inevitable that the various ITV companies would be consolidated sooner or later. STV is the holdout but even that was a consolidation of all the Scottish ITV companies.
ST
stuart621
Jonwo posted:
It was inevitable that the various ITV companies would be consolidated sooner or later. STV is the holdout but even that was a consolidation of all the Scottish ITV companies.


Yes, STV was an amalgamation of STV and Grampian. I’m not sure why all the other ITV companies coming together was inevitable, though. If the decisions had been taken by programme makers rather than accountants, things might have been different.
LO
lobster
I have great fondness for the quirky feel of regional ITV, but let’s not let nostalgia and sentimentality fog our memories... a lot of the regionally produced stuff was bad, and some of it just low budget versions of very similar programmes which were networked.

I grew up with Anglia and certainly by the late 1980s, early 1990s there was very little of note. I also used to be able to pick up Yorkshire and their regional offer was even more drab than Anglia.
ST
stuart621
Yes, there were some poor quality programmes then just as there are now. But look at the drama output of companies like Yorkshire TV and ATV. Not much drama coming from Leeds or Birmingham now. Or look at the success of Taggart and Tales of the Unexpected. Both produced by mid-sized regions and very popular in this country and abroad.

A look through the ITV Yearbooks of the 70s and 80s showcases some of the excellent regional programmes made to be shown locally. I’m not letting nostalgia or sentimentality fog my memory - I know that in my opinion, the old regional ITV was much better than what we have today.

Don’t get me wrong - they still produce first class drama and some of their entertainment programmes oar obviously very popular (although not to my taste) but to me, there’s not as much variety of programmes now.
SC
Si-Co
I really wish that money had been put into the regions so they could produce relevant content for their own market, rather than setting up local TV channels that weren’t really needed and, as predicted, have ended up little more than a news broadcast and shared content. Even without studios, the regional companies could produce content for their own area with the help of indies.
JO
Jonwo
Jonwo posted:
It was inevitable that the various ITV companies would be consolidated sooner or later. STV is the holdout but even that was a consolidation of all the Scottish ITV companies.


Yes, STV was an amalgamation of STV and Grampian. I’m not sure why all the other ITV companies coming together was inevitable, though. If the decisions had been taken by programme makers rather than accountants, things might have been different.


Television is a business first and foremost. ITV is its current form is able to operate in a world where content is king and having all the resources under one roof is a no brainer. It's not just competing with the other terrestrials and Pay TV anymore, it's streamers.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
Yes, there were some poor quality programmes then just as there are now. But look at the drama output of companies like Yorkshire TV and ATV. Not much drama coming from Leeds or Birmingham now. Or look at the success of Taggart and Tales of the Unexpected. Both produced by mid-sized regions and very popular in this country and abroad.


Of course the production bases in the Midlands were either demolished or sold. ATV had Broad Street but the bulk of their productions were actually at Elstree, which they had to ultimately get rid of, and Broad Street was also disposed of. The main production hub was Nottingham, itself flogged in 2004, and Central was ultimately relegated to a one studio outfit at Gas Street.

I believe there was another production base in Aston, which ATV also disposed of, and local radio station BRMB lived there for a while.

Quote:
Don’t get me wrong - they still produce first class drama and some of their entertainment programmes oar obviously very popular (although not to my taste) but to me, there’s not as much variety of programmes now.


Well that's what happens when you top load your schedule with the same programmes day in and day out. Weeknights 7-9 used to be a variety mix, but now its all soap, soap and more soap. Could be argued its lazy scheduling, but of course it's all about ratings so...
ST
stuart621


Well that's what happens when you top load your schedule with the same programmes day in and day out. Weeknights 7-9 used to be a variety mix, but now its all soap, soap and more soap. Could be argued its lazy scheduling, but of course it's all about ratings so...


I think I would agree that it is lazy scheduling. Ratings are tiny compared to what they once were as viewing numbers have been diluted across a range of different services. When ITV does pull out the stops (eg The Pembrokeshire Murders) they get amazing viewing figures - best for 10 years, apparently. So maybe there is still an appetite for more varied, quality programming but they just need a bit of courage to produce it.
ST
stuart621
Jonwo posted:


Television is a business first and foremost. ITV is its current form is able to operate in a world where content is king and having all the resources under one roof is a no brainer. It's not just competing with the other terrestrials and Pay TV anymore, it's streamers.


But things like the two series I mentioned plus many, many other programmes were able to compete in the past and if they were still made, they would continue to do so. There's a lot less original content nowadays when they basically have two production centres (London and Manchester) compared to the 15 they had before. I don't think Netflix, Amazon Prime or Apple TV + have got all their resources under one roof - they get content from various different providers just like ITV used to.

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