The Newsroom

Could ITN News Channel rise from the ashes?

It's online, on mobiles - why not on TV? (November 2005)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
LO
Londoner
Brekkie Boy posted:
I also don't know for certain if the ITN News Channel would have changed it's format if ITV hadn't bought it.

If Granada and Carlton hadn't bought out ITN's share (NTL were still partners in the channel at that stage), the channel would have closed back in 2002.
BA
Bacchic
newscentre posted:
The News Channel needs to distinguish itself from other news channels. And there's a really cheap option. There's nothing more annoying than tuning in to get a news bulletin and everyone is on a live event. The NC should stop trying to compete and give something completely new... anytime you tune in to the channel, you get a fifteen minute bulletin of news, business and weather. You wouldn't need expensive presenters or even many resources, just a solid fifteen minute bulletin which is then adapted every fifteen minutes. It would be boring to watch for more than fifteen minutes, but who really tunes in for a long time? It would give people just what they want, the news, with no bells and whistles.


The old ITN News Channel did go a long way down this road at one point - can't remember exactly when. They practically gave up doing live interviews with reporters, didn't go to live events (unless they were really big news), and had, I think, a 15 min news wheel. Didn't last that long, though - I don't think the journalists could bear not covering live stuff the oppostion were all doing! Perhaps they should have stuck to it. Then at least, as you say, the channel would be providing a distinctive service, rather than an unwatched, chronically under-funded, third-rate version of News 24 and Sky News.
CI
cityprod
cat posted:
How on earth are you proposing ITN get ''big money deals'' for sponsoring their news segments? Aside from the fact that OFCOM doesn't allow sponsorship of news programming, who on earth is going to want to pay big money for a spot on a channel nobody watches?

And what would their deals with CNN et al have to do with it? It's hardly going to attract a significant audience if they're just pumping out stuff from other networks.

Finally, it wasn't let down by its studio, it was let down by the fact that it was not a particularly sharp service, and got confused about what it wanted to be. They were doing 15 minute headline summaries, then launching into breaking news coverage because they seemed to think they should cover that too; the audience got confused. They knew they could get headlines from Sky/BBC anyway, as well as breaking news, so why go to a startup service that offered something second rate?


So, OFCOM doesn't allow sponsorship of news programming? Then please tell me why the whole of Sky Sports News is sponsored? Why ITV News Channel used to have IBM sponsoring their market updates? Why Sky News has its weather sponsored by Qatar Airways? Why ITV News Channel has its Travel updates sponsored by the National Accident Helpline?

OFCOM rightly doesn't want the news itself to be sponsored as this would bring questions over editorial independence, but the reality is that segments of non-news programming within these channels CAN be sponsored, and indeed are being sponsored.

As for your question about their deals with CNN, NBC and Nine Network Australia, it's called getting access to resources already available that would be too costly for them to immedaitely duplicate.

ITN have already used their links with NBC and Nine Network Australia repeatedly on the ITV News Channel, and for years, ITV used to air CNN Headline News as part of their overnight news service, first as a separate bulletin at 5.30am, following a showing of the previous nights ITN World News at 5.00am, then the news half of Headline News continued to be aired as part of the hour long ITN Morning News.

Indeed, CNN themselves often use reports produced by ITN as part of their news output. It's called resource sharing, and it means that these broadcasters can get access to stories that they might not have the resources to cover themselves.

Sky often use video material and reports that they have access to through the ENEX service (European News EXchange), so this kind of resource sharing is done by a lot of broadcasters worldwide, and it keeps costs down.

Oh,and that studio set design did let the channel down. That great, ugly column, which was connected to that desk, which was too small to accomodate a guest really. A better designed set would have significantly helped.

As for your complaint about confusing the audience, I think you're off the beam a bit here. Pre September 2001, the channel did cover breaking news, but only in keeping with the service style, usually as a 20-30 second item in the bulletin, before moving on.

Not surprisingly, the World Trade Center attacks on September 11 2001, changed all that. ITN and NTL saw the ratings that Sky News and News 24 were getting with their breaking news coverage, and thought that was where the ratings were.

I also think that the fact that ITN's interactive service being limited only to NTL cable didn't help matters. Maybe adding an interactive element to the service on Sky Digital would have helped a little.

I certainly never regarded the service provided by ITN as second rate, but like every service, it had room for improvement. It's a shame that the now ITV News Channel hasn't improved that much on what the ITN News Channel achieved.
CA
cat
cityprod posted:
cat posted:
How on earth are you proposing ITN get ''big money deals'' for sponsoring their news segments? Aside from the fact that OFCOM doesn't allow sponsorship of news programming, who on earth is going to want to pay big money for a spot on a channel nobody watches?

And what would their deals with CNN et al have to do with it? It's hardly going to attract a significant audience if they're just pumping out stuff from other networks.

Finally, it wasn't let down by its studio, it was let down by the fact that it was not a particularly sharp service, and got confused about what it wanted to be. They were doing 15 minute headline summaries, then launching into breaking news coverage because they seemed to think they should cover that too; the audience got confused. They knew they could get headlines from Sky/BBC anyway, as well as breaking news, so why go to a startup service that offered something second rate?


So, OFCOM doesn't allow sponsorship of news programming? Then please tell me why the whole of Sky Sports News is sponsored? Why ITV News Channel used to have IBM sponsoring their market updates? Why Sky News has its weather sponsored by Qatar Airways? Why ITV News Channel has its Travel updates sponsored by the National Accident Helpline?

OFCOM rightly doesn't want the news itself to be sponsored as this would bring questions over editorial independence, but the reality is that segments of non-news programming within these channels CAN be sponsored, and indeed are being sponsored.

As for your question about their deals with CNN, NBC and Nine Network Australia, it's called getting access to resources already available that would be too costly for them to immedaitely duplicate.

ITN have already used their links with NBC and Nine Network Australia repeatedly on the ITV News Channel, and for years, ITV used to air CNN Headline News as part of their overnight news service, first as a separate bulletin at 5.30am, following a showing of the previous nights ITN World News at 5.00am, then the news half of Headline News continued to be aired as part of the hour long ITN Morning News.

Indeed, CNN themselves often use reports produced by ITN as part of their news output. It's called resource sharing, and it means that these broadcasters can get access to stories that they might not have the resources to cover themselves.

Sky often use video material and reports that they have access to through the ENEX service (European News EXchange), so this kind of resource sharing is done by a lot of broadcasters worldwide, and it keeps costs down.

Oh,and that studio set design did let the channel down. That great, ugly column, which was connected to that desk, which was too small to accomodate a guest really. A better designed set would have significantly helped.

As for your complaint about confusing the audience, I think you're off the beam a bit here. Pre September 2001, the channel did cover breaking news, but only in keeping with the service style, usually as a 20-30 second item in the bulletin, before moving on.

Not surprisingly, the World Trade Center attacks on September 11 2001, changed all that. ITN and NTL saw the ratings that Sky News and News 24 were getting with their breaking news coverage, and thought that was where the ratings were.

I also think that the fact that ITN's interactive service being limited only to NTL cable didn't help matters. Maybe adding an interactive element to the service on Sky Digital would have helped a little.

I certainly never regarded the service provided by ITN as second rate, but like every service, it had room for improvement. It's a shame that the now ITV News Channel hasn't improved that much on what the ITN News Channel achieved.


I think you've sort of answered your own questions there.

I really don't take your point about advertising slots. Sky Sports News, Sky Weather, ITN showbiz etc are sponsored because they aren't news slots. I'm not sure how you can cite sponsorship, using other broadcasters' material, and improving their studio as a resolution to the channel's problems when they are three things they've already tried.

Of course Sky use ENEX material, the BBC use EBU like ITN... again, what's your point? How is this going to help ITN out?

I watched the first day of the ITN News Channel, and I can tell you straight that they did break out of their fixed cycle for a while to cover breaking news.

You're suggesting a whole host of ideas that, as you actually point out yourself, ITV/N have already tried and failed with .So how on earth is this going to help them fund another news channel.

You're truly baffling.
CA
cat
Oh, sorry, I forgot one thing:

Your suggestion that ITN fund the channel with adverts.

Of course! If only they'd thought of that before.

Oh, wait...
TV
tvmercia Founding member
given the talk of the launch of cnn it prompted me to think - i wonder how different things would be now had itn launched a news channel earlier. i read somewhere that a pilot for an itn news channel was produced waaay back in 1983.

had it been given the go-ahead it seems pretty obvious itn would have had an easier time establishing a news channel than sky did. it seems conceivable that itn could have occupied the top spot today had they moved faster - and indeed, itv might have been less inclined to rename itn bulletins on itv if the itn news channel was in the position that sky news is now.
CI
cityprod
cat posted:
I think you've sort of answered your own questions there.

I really don't take your point about advertising slots. Sky Sports News, Sky Weather, ITN showbiz etc are sponsored because they aren't news slots. I'm not sure how you can cite sponsorship, using other broadcasters' material, and improving their studio as a resolution to the channel's problems when they are three things they've already tried.

Of course Sky use ENEX material, the BBC use EBU like ITN... again, what's your point? How is this going to help ITN out?

I watched the first day of the ITN News Channel, and I can tell you straight that they did break out of their fixed cycle for a while to cover breaking news.

You're suggesting a whole host of ideas that, as you actually point out yourself, ITV/N have already tried and failed with .So how on earth is this going to help them fund another news channel.

You're truly baffling.


I'm baffling you? Well let me explain the points again, and this time I'll do it more slowly.

My original point on sponsorship, not advertising, but sponsorship, was as follows...

"... If ITN were to launch another news channel, they absolutely need sponsorship deals for Sports, Business, Weather, Travel and Entertainment News segments, and fairly big money deals at that. "

In reply, you made the following point...

"...How on earth are you proposing ITN get ''big money deals'' for sponsoring their news segments? Aside from the fact that OFCOM doesn't allow sponsorship of news programming, who on earth is going to want to pay big money for a spot on a channel nobody watches? "

Notice what you said, "...sponsoring their NEWS segments...", whereas I was talking about sponsors for all the other segments, NOT news. That did damage the validity of your point.

The answer to the point though is simple, the same way any other broadcaster gets sponsors for shows, by hunting for them. and negotiating.

You also made the point that...

"...You're suggesting a whole host of ideas that, as you actually point out yourself, ITV/N have already tried and failed with .So how on earth is this going to help them fund another news channel. "

You are treating ITV News Channel as the same entity as the ITN News Channel. So let us look at the channel and see who is sponsoring what.

Sports: No sponsor.
Business: No sponsor.
Entertainment: No sponsor
Weather: No sponsor
Travel: National Accident Helpline.

This proves my point that the channel needs ALL these slots sponsored. Anything less is not going to be enough.

However, we are talking about the ITV News Channel here and there is a separate issue here, regarding ITV's willingness to support the channel. That's not just the monetary support, that's also support in terms of promotion, in terms of cutting its hours on a major broadcast platform etc. Whilst ITN also had platform issues, they didn't have hours cut from their broadcast time on digital terrestrial, they only had a limited timeslot available to them. However, they were 24 hour on digital satellite, which at the time was the dominant digital platform.

But that is by the by.

Your last point in your last email is very revealing...

"...You're suggesting a whole host of ideas that, as you actually point out yourself, ITV/N have already tried and failed with .So how on earth is this going to help them fund another news channel. "

You seem to be suggesting that I am presenting these as some magic formula that has already failed the channel. I suggest you re-read my posts, and you WILL discover that all I ever said was that these would help. There is no magic formula.

These are already helping the ITV News Channel, but either they are not doing these things enough to save enough money to make the channel at least break even, or they are not yet doing enough to convince potential sponsors of the benefits of segment sponsorship.

According to BARB, the channel reaches around 2 million viewers a week. Just think, a sponsor is pretty much guaranteed to reach around 2 million viewers a week. There are plenty of programmes on british TV that don't get that number of viewers, yet they are sponsored.

If ITV were willing to get the sponsors, make the effort and support the station, then we might be looking at a 3 way tussle in the news channel ratings stakes. However, the very fact we are talking about the closure of the channel and the revival of the ITN News Channel, shows just how little confidence there is in the ITV News Channel.
CA
cat
Right, much though I'd like to go through that blow by blow, I've not got the time this morning.

But again, you're talking crap.

First of all, you've not answered my point about ''big money deals''... you simply cannot and will not get big money sponsorship deals for a channel that nobody watches. It will not happen. You cannot convince an advertiser that a channel so drastically behind its rivals in viewing figures deserves an expensive contract. You're living in cloud cukoo land.

ITN have had business sponsored (IBM) they have had weather sponsored (National Accident, and various others) they have had other sponsorship deals for strands at one time or another. Sky have sports, weather, business, snow, hayfever sponsorships, more than ITV/N, and they still are nowhere near breaking even.

And FYI: No broadcasters ''hunt'' for sponsors, they're put out to tender and companies are invited to bid for them. To quote your own words ''that did rather damage the validity of your point''.

You originally were talking about ITN launching TWO news channels, and claiming that by doing sponsorship and adverts - things that other channels and ITN have tried - this would make them lots of money and they would break even. Sponsorship would only just about cover the staff wages for the year, let alone the operating costs.

I'm sorry, but with the greatest of respect, you really don't know what you're talking about.
IS
Inspector Sands
cityprod posted:

You are treating ITV News Channel as the same entity as the ITN News Channel. So let us look at the channel and see who is sponsoring what.

Sports: No sponsor.
Business: No sponsor.
Entertainment: No sponsor
Weather: No sponsor
Travel: National Accident Helpline.

This proves my point that the channel needs ALL these slots sponsored. Anything less is not going to be enough.


Surely it first needs viewers, no-one is going to sponsor any of those slots if there's virtually no-one watching. And whatever they get would be a mere drop in the ocean

I suspect that the only reason the travel news is sponsored is because no other rolling news channel does regular travel news.
IS
Inspector Sands
Brekkie Boy posted:
cityprod posted:
The situation with ITN is different in the sense that, there is already two market leaders in close competition. I felt the original ITN News Channel was a very good package, only let down in my view by a badly designed studio set which undermined the rest of the channel.


Agree with most of what you say. It was the studio that let them down, but the concept of continuous news bulletins was good.


No-one chooses to watch a news channel because of the studio or the set , most choose a news channel due to its editorial and whether or not there's something of interest on when they tun over.

Besides a surprising amount of News channel viewing is done passively- i.e. someone having a telly on in the background - what the set looks like it no-where in the consideration
BR
Brekkie
tvmercia posted:
given the talk of the launch of cnn it prompted me to think - i wonder how different things would be now had itn launched a news channel earlier. i read somewhere that a pilot for an itn news channel was produced waaay back in 1983.

had it been given the go-ahead it seems pretty obvious itn would have had an easier time establishing a news channel than sky did. it seems conceivable that itn could have occupied the top spot today had they moved faster - and indeed, itv might have been less inclined to rename itn bulletins on itv if the itn news channel was in the position that sky news is now.


Interesting, though obviously carriage would have been an issue. Perhaps in this scenario ITN would have launched instead of Sky News as part of Sky's launch line up, or alternatively produced Sky News - or been part of the rival British Satellite Broadcasting line up, but really independent satellite networks didn't begin to emerge until the mid-90s.
BR
Brekkie
Inspector Sands posted:
No-one chooses to watch a news channel because of the studio or the set , most choose a news channel due to its editorial and whether or not there's something of interest on when they tun over.



Of course you are right - but in the case of the ITN News Channel the studio had an impact on its editorial as it wasn't really designed to include regular guests for live interviews etc. (Though obviously it's more likely the studio was designed based on the editorial of having no live interviews!)

Newer posts