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.