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itsrobert6,439 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
Well the BBC had only managed to launch a 24-hour news channel by the end of 1997 and the potential viewership for that was pretty small as it was limited to analogue cable in the first instance ISTR. Most people only had access to BBC News 24 overnight when it was simulcast on BBC1 and, let's face it, most people wouldn't be tuning in then.

It was with the coming of digital TV towards the end of the 1990s that broadcasters really started to see the potential for growth in news outlets. In fact, ISTR that ITN launched a brand new digital offering in August 2000 across TV, radio, online and using WAP on mobile phones. I suspect ITN held back a little while to see how things panned out with the start of digital TV. The vast majority of people still didn't have access to more than the standard analogue terrestrial offering - indeed, my family had adopted Sky analogue satellite TV in 1995 but we were pretty early adopters among our neighbours. I think we only made the switch to Sky Digital in 2000 and this was the first time I had full access to News 24 and the ITN News Channel. ITN probably waited until they knew it was going to be viable.

In any case, for what it's worth, I actually thought the ITN News Channel was pretty good. It offered something a bit different to Sky News and BBC News 24 and I, at least, enjoyed it. I think the rot set in when ITV got their hands on it. I get the impression that they only really wanted it for the lucrative DTT space it was carried on. They paid lip service to it for a while but it was closed within about 3 years. It's a pity as it had potential when it was ITN owned.
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Brekkie33,420 posts since 4 Jan 2003 Recently warned
HTV Wales Wales Today
Yes, in it's original incarnation the ITN News Channel had a great point of difference. Many of the most frequent complaints about news channels are when you tune in and don't get the news so a cycle of 15 or 30 minute bulletins has appeal.


Going way off topic but do wonder if ITV had won their bid for Freeview in the wake of the the ITV Digital fallout how their plans for regional content on the news channel would have played out.
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itsrobert6,439 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
Yes, in it's original incarnation the ITN News Channel had a great point of difference. Many of the most frequent complaints about news channels are when you tune in and don't get the news so a cycle of 15 or 30 minute bulletins has appeal.

I think that's the element that makes me suspicious about ITV's motives in purchasing the ITN News Channel. Granted the viewing figures probably weren't great, but then again digital TV was still in its relative infancy. The ITN NC wasn't inherently a bad product and, like you say, the frequent criticism of news channels is that you don't get a full news summary when you tune in. Sky and News 24 were more 'rolling' in the sense that they would theoretically have a repeating selection of stories and VTs but these were frequently dropped at a moment's notice in favour of live coverage of developing or breaking news.

Had the ITN NC continued I do think there would have been a place for it in the modern era, probably more so than what Sky and the BBC are now offering. It's the fact that the channel was closed so quickly by ITV that makes me wonder if they really just wanted the DTT slot for other content. As we know, news channels don't generally make a profit - in fact, it's said they make a loss - but are worthwhile reputationally for broadcasters to run. Then again, we all know what ITV's commitment to news is like.
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Brekkie33,420 posts since 4 Jan 2003 Recently warned
HTV Wales Wales Today
Yes, in it's original incarnation the ITN News Channel had a great point of difference. Many of the most frequent complaints about news channels are when you tune in and don't get the news so a cycle of 15 or 30 minute bulletins has appeal.

I think that's the element that makes me suspicious about ITV's motives in purchasing the ITN News Channel. Granted the viewing figures probably weren't great, but then again digital TV was still in its relative infancy. The ITN NC wasn't inherently a bad product and, like you say, the frequent criticism of news channels is that you don't get a full news summary when you tune in. Sky and News 24 were more 'rolling' in the sense that they would theoretically have a repeating selection of stories and VTs but these were frequently dropped at a moment's notice in favour of live coverage of developing or breaking news.

Had the ITN NC continued I do think there would have been a place for it in the modern era, probably more so than what Sky and the BBC are now offering. It's the fact that the channel was closed so quickly by ITV that makes me wonder if they really just wanted the DTT slot for other content. As we know, news channels don't generally make a profit - in fact, it's said they make a loss - but are worthwhile reputationally for broadcasters to run. Then again, we all know what ITV's commitment to news is like.

Quickly was about 4 years though wasn't it? Sure it changed to ITV News in autumn 2001.

Of course they claimed a slot on DTT wasn't available when it closed but was only a few months later they added a 24 hour stream for ITV Play.
Last edited by Brekkie on 7 February 2020 8:36pm
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thegeek5,252 posts since 1 Jan 2002
London London

Interestingly, to pick up on the point about recorded ITN bulletins and newsroom staffing overnight, in the latter days of ITN providing overnight news, the production team would pre-record the overnight summaries after News at Ten. The Morning News would then be produced by a different crew at the start of the new day. In the meantime, editorial staff would still be around overnight to prepare the Morning News and monitor the news wires. And of course MCR was staffed overnight. But other than that, they didn't have a full crew waiting around just in case.

I quite enjoyed the the latter days of the Morning News on a nightshift. It tended to borrow VTs from both News at Ten and Channel 4 News, and if they ran out of things in their running order just went back to the start again. The feeling of déjà-vu it gave me (especially if I'd been up early enough to see C4 News the night before) seemed to suit my sleep-addled state fairly well.
JKDerry2,358 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
The ITV News Channel has a routine of constant repeats of news bulletins, especially through the night. Reflecting on the ITV News Channel from their 2004 relaunch, I remember the overnight news consisted of repeats of the News at 10.30 with hourly live news summaries until 5.30am.

I never understood why they repeated the Morning News twice at 6.00 and 6.30 before starting the main news channel schedules at 7.00.

Also in place of the News at 10.30 repeats, they would often simply repeat the midnight news hour through the night until 5.30am, most often at weekends or if there were a news event which happened at 11.00 or so and caused the 10.30 bulletin to be more dated.
Andrew14,098 posts since 27 Mar 2001
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Well the BBC had only managed to launch a 24-hour news channel by the end of 1997 and the potential viewership for that was pretty small as it was limited to analogue cable in the first instance ISTR. Most people only had access to BBC News 24 overnight when it was simulcast on BBC1 and, let's face it, most people wouldn't be tuning in then.

It was with the coming of digital TV towards the end of the 1990s that broadcasters really started to see the potential for growth in news outlets. In fact, ISTR that ITN launched a brand new digital offering in August 2000 across TV, radio, online and using WAP on mobile phones. I suspect ITN held back a little while to see how things panned out with the start of digital TV. The vast majority of people still didn't have access to more than the standard analogue terrestrial offering - indeed, my family had adopted Sky analogue satellite TV in 1995 but we were pretty early adopters among our neighbours. I think we only made the switch to Sky Digital in 2000 and this was the first time I had full access to News 24 and the ITN News Channel. ITN probably waited until they knew it was going to be viable.

In any case, for what it's worth, I actually thought the ITN News Channel was pretty good. It offered something a bit different to Sky News and BBC News 24 and I, at least, enjoyed it. I think the rot set in when ITV got their hands on it. I get the impression that they only really wanted it for the lucrative DTT space it was carried on. They paid lip service to it for a while but it was closed within about 3 years. It's a pity as it had potential when it was ITN owned.

I think you’ve rewritten history a tad there, jumping straight from ITV buying the channel, to closing it as if it was a few weeks later.

I think they made a good go of it within their limited resources, relaunching the whole of ITV News in the middle with a studio that was almost like it was designed for the news channel first, and the network bulletins second. There were all the various special branded shows, double heading, breaking news, the ‘old faces’ brought back for th Iraq war, the list goes on.

In the context of then, there were elements that were more budget than its competitors (overnights, repeats, simulcasting) but in the context of now, it was more extensive than what you get on the BBC News Channel three days.
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itsrobert6,439 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
Well the BBC had only managed to launch a 24-hour news channel by the end of 1997 and the potential viewership for that was pretty small as it was limited to analogue cable in the first instance ISTR. Most people only had access to BBC News 24 overnight when it was simulcast on BBC1 and, let's face it, most people wouldn't be tuning in then.

It was with the coming of digital TV towards the end of the 1990s that broadcasters really started to see the potential for growth in news outlets. In fact, ISTR that ITN launched a brand new digital offering in August 2000 across TV, radio, online and using WAP on mobile phones. I suspect ITN held back a little while to see how things panned out with the start of digital TV. The vast majority of people still didn't have access to more than the standard analogue terrestrial offering - indeed, my family had adopted Sky analogue satellite TV in 1995 but we were pretty early adopters among our neighbours. I think we only made the switch to Sky Digital in 2000 and this was the first time I had full access to News 24 and the ITN News Channel. ITN probably waited until they knew it was going to be viable.

In any case, for what it's worth, I actually thought the ITN News Channel was pretty good. It offered something a bit different to Sky News and BBC News 24 and I, at least, enjoyed it. I think the rot set in when ITV got their hands on it. I get the impression that they only really wanted it for the lucrative DTT space it was carried on. They paid lip service to it for a while but it was closed within about 3 years. It's a pity as it had potential when it was ITN owned.

I think you’ve rewritten history a tad there, jumping straight from ITV buying the channel, to closing it as if it was a few weeks later.

I think they made a good go of it within their limited resources, relaunching the whole of ITV News in the middle with a studio that was almost like it was designed for the news channel first, and the network bulletins second. There were all the various special branded shows, double heading, breaking news, the ‘old faces’ brought back for th Iraq war, the list goes on.

In the context of then, there were elements that were more budget than its competitors (overnights, repeats, simulcasting) but in the context of now, it was more extensive than what you get on the BBC News Channel three days.

Maybe 'paying lip service' was the wrong choice of words; however, just over 3 years (the rebranding of the News Channel happened in September 2002) isn't that long to give something a go before giving it the axe. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree - I just get the feeling that there was more to it somehow.
Andrew14,098 posts since 27 Mar 2001
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I never understood why they repeated the Morning News twice at 6.00 and 6.30 before starting the main news channel schedules at 7.00.


I can't remember now, but decisions like that usually boil down to staffing and/or practicalities.

Did they have issues with broadcasting against the GMTV Newshour?

I think it was something like that, either issues with, or the fact they didn’t feel it was right to do so.