The Newsroom

ITV abandons plans to take over ITN

(June 2006)

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SP
Spencer
Couldn't see this posted anywhere else...

MediaGuardian posted:
ITV has ruled out a takeover of its news provider, ITN, as financial pressures continue to bite.
MediaGuardian.co.uk has been told that ITV has quietly dropped its plans to take control of ITN, concentrating instead on beating the advertising downturn and returning value to its shareholders.

At the moment, ITV plc owns 40% of ITN - the other 60% is shared equally between United Business Media, Reuters, and Daily Mail & General Trust.

The ownership structure is the legacy of the regional set-up of ITV. Rules were drawn up to stop any one ITV company dominating ITN; when the government allowed ITV to become a single entity, the broadcaster lobbied hard for the rules to be relaxed.

Until last year, Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, had attempted to "talk down" the value of ITN by threatening to set up his own news division if the other shareholders would not sell up. ITN without the ITV News contract would be worthless, he contended.

But ITV could not now afford ITN, which has slowly been building up the value of its other businesses, such as the increasingly valuable archive and its multimedia interests.


Full Article

Sounds like good news to me. I'm happy that Charles Allen isn't about to get his claws into ITN, and that it remains 'Independent'. I guess Channel 4 are as well.
:-(
A former member
Well that is good news, if ITV did take over ITN, do you think Channel 4 would terminate the contract and go for a Sky News produced programme?
SP
Spencer
I would imagine the contract wouldn't allow that, but I may be wrong. So I doubt anything would happen until the contract came up for renewal.

IIRC, the likelihood of an ITV takeover of ITN was one of the main reasons that the last Channel 4 News contract renewal with ITN was in doubt.
TE
tesandco Founding member
Was there not some clause in the Channel 4 contract involving provisions if ITV had taken full control (I cant remember for sure, it's just one of those things at the back of my mind)?

I dont find it at all surprising that this announcement came shortly after the recently published press-release from ITN after the rebrand. I do remember Charlie's little suggestion a while back about how if ITN didn't sell, they'd just take the whole of their news operation inhouse at ITV. Obviously stated to try and put pressure on ITN as the ITV contract is so big. ITN stated in that release they're up to 30% and rising of income from new media now, and probably a big chunk from Channel 4 too. As MG says ITV have clearly twigged they'd have to try and buy them out within the next year or so and not for quite the rockbottom price they'd wanted for their threat to even still work, hence the backing off instead. Ah I do like it when their plans backfire on them. ^^

This is where ITN and ITV differ so much. ITN have been building up the business with longer-term protection strategies. ITV have been going mostly for the quick cash schemes. Who's looking in a better position as a result?
BR
Brekkie
There was definately a clause in the new C4 contract allowing C4 to review the situation if ITN's ownership changed!


I've said this millions of times though and I really don't see the benefit of C4 News being produced by Sky News over ITV News - it's still a rival company.

Also, some of C4's biggest programmes are made by ITV (under the Granada banner), most notably Countdown!
JH
Jonathan H
onetrickpony posted:
Well that is good news, if ITV did take over ITN, do you think Channel 4 would terminate the contract and go for a Sky News produced programme?


Whilst I appreciate things are very different now, let's not forget that Channel 4 News was produced by a wholly ITV-owned ITN for many, many years after Channel 4 started.
CI
cityprod
Jonathan H posted:
Whilst I appreciate things are very different now, let's not forget that Channel 4 News was produced by a wholly ITV-owned ITN for many, many years after Channel 4 started.


Indeed, but that was a very different Channel 4 back then, which was basically an ITV2 in all but name. Channel 4 shared ITN as a news provider, ITV Sport provided a great deal of sports coverage, ITV companies sold Channel 4's advertising and programming had been moved wholesale from ITV to Channel 4 by the ITV companies. It was only in 1993 that Channel 4 became independent of ITV.

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