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Riaz503 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Probably not, but then the concept of a London split rumbles on on paper if not on screen so...


The concept of all regions rumbles on on paper, but for how much longer?

I have a strange theory that West Country folk would welcome a return of Westward / TSW but London folk would show little enthusiasm for a return of Thames and LWT.
Ne1L C547 posts since 11 Sep 2011
It's fun to look at what ifs but in all honesty after all the consolidation I cant imagine any clamour for the return of the regions. ITV is a national company doing its absolute minimum in terms of "local" programmes. The sad fact is that irrespective of what could have happened in 1991/2 ITV would become a unified entity simply to survive against Sky and the US networks.

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/game-of-thrones-an-itv-story.455300/#post-17888362
Riaz503 posts since 6 Jan 2016
I dispute ITV having to unify in order to survive against satellite and cable channels. Terrestrial TV was and still is localised in the US where cable networks have been around in most urban areas much longer than they have been in Britain. If ITV had stayed regionalised then the real turning point would have been when internet TV started taking off.

I still struggle to understand the mentality behind ITV companies having to source 25% of programmes from indies after 1992. With hindsight it's questionable whether this, and the facility for an ITV company to be a publisher broadcaster, was a successful one. What sort of programmes did the ITC have in mind?

Carlton was the 'wrecking ball' that was responsible for transforming ITV into what it is today. If Carlton had failed to win either the London Weekday or South and South East regions then they would have wormed their way into ITV via Central.

There are times when I think that there should have been another franchise round in the early 2000s that also included the digital channels.
Neil Jones4,584 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I dispute ITV having to unify in order to survive against satellite and cable channels. Terrestrial TV was and still is localised in the US where cable networks have been around in most urban areas much longer than they have been in Britain. If ITV had stayed regionalised then the real turning point would have been when internet TV started taking off.


Just because it works in the US doesn't mean it will work here; look at the dire state of the Local TV services - run on peanuts and presentation wise, well many non-professionals on YouTube have done better, let's put it that way.

Quote:
I still struggle to understand the mentality behind ITV companies having to source 25% of programmes from indies after 1992. With hindsight it's questionable whether this, and the facility for an ITV company to be a publisher broadcaster, was a successful one. What sort of programmes did the ITC have in mind?


The indie thing turned out to be good for Thames if nothing else. In one week in 1994 Thames programmes propped up 42% of the air time between 7pm and 10pm on weeknights. But I think the idea was to try and break up the dominance of ITV programmes in the system after the success of Channel 4's model.


Quote:
There are times when I think that there should have been another franchise round in the early 2000s that also included the digital channels.


And why do you think that?
Whataday9,130 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
I almost can't believe I'm about to engage in this debate again...

I dispute ITV having to unify in order to survive against satellite and cable channels. Terrestrial TV was and still is localised in the US where cable networks have been around in most urban areas much longer than they have been in Britain. If ITV had stayed regionalised then the real turning point would have been when internet TV started taking off.


You're really using the United States of America (Area: 9.834 million km², Population: 325,000,000) as evidence that localised television should still work here, in the United Kingdom (Area: 242,495 km², Population: 66,000,000)?

I still struggle to understand the mentality behind ITV companies having to source 25% of programmes from indies after 1992. With hindsight it's questionable whether this, and the facility for an ITV company to be a publisher broadcaster, was a successful one. What sort of programmes did the ITC have in mind?


Little to do with the ITC. It was as a result of government legislation which aimed to stimulate a market which was being suffocated by a dominant commercial network. It worked - we now have a thriving independent production industry (including Thames, incidentally).

Carlton was the 'wrecking ball' that was responsible for transforming ITV into what it is today. If Carlton had failed to win either the London Weekday or South and South East regions then they would have wormed their way into ITV via Central.


No it wasn't, but even if I humour your usual "Carlton's the worst, Thames' the best" drivel for a moment, I still question how much of a "wrecking ball" it was considering we now have a highly profitable organisation that has man still delivers high quality programming both domestically and globally.

There are times when I think that there should have been another franchise round in the early 2000s that also included the digital channels.


And you think there would still have been ITV digital channels if that had been on the agenda? They only existed as a result of significant investment from the commercial entities which owned most of the franchises (including your dreaded Carlton). With a franchise round upcoming at such a crucial time - you really think they would have even thought about investing millions in channels they could imminently lose?
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Mr Kite877 posts since 15 Aug 2007
Granada North West Today
US Media markets are smaller than ITV regions on average though. The likes of London, Granada & Central West would be in the top ten media markets if England was in the United States.

In some ways, the Broadcasting Act 1990 took some inspiration from how US TV networks work. It allowed companies to own more than one license but this was restricted to, three, regardless of size; with no one company owning both London stations. The US has a similar system but it works on percentage of the national viewership share, so one can have fewer large stations of more smaller ones. It was subsequent legislation which moved towards 'de-regionalising' ITV in terms of both ownership and content obligations.

People shouldn't be comparing US regional networks with the local TV recently set up in this country (that mistake was why they came into existence in the first place). The local TV channels in this country are much smaller on average than US media markets, are largely standalone as opposed to being part of a national network and have to compete with umpteen stations, most broadcast directly into the area from London. US stations, on the other hand, only have a few rivals. Additional digital channels belong to the existing regional channels (a bit like the Digital 3 & 4 MUX here), there are no 'outsiders'.

To imagine a UK equivalent to the US system, you'd have something akin to the current BBC regions, perhaps with the Oxford & Hannington part of BBC South as a region and the West and East parts of BBC East being totally separate also. This isn't 'local' in the sense of 'Made In...' but it's closer to how it is in the US. Now imagine there is a network based in London that owns the London, West Midlands, North West and Yorkshire (Emiley Moor part) stations, with the others owned by other companies; duplicate this so you have a few competing networks and that's pretty much the US system.

I think a system along these lines could've worked in the UK. Sadly, I think the boat probably sailed as long ago as when Channel 4 was launched as a national (bar Wales) station, albeit one that functioned sort of as a contemporary ITV2 rather than a commercial rival to the existing regional network. It would've been interesting if instead they decided to create a rival regional network, an extra station in each region with similar PSB requirements - probably coinciding with a relaxing of ownership rules as in 1990 and probably also with the London weekeday/weekend split removed. It'd have been cool to have had a Liverpool-based rival to Granada, as a hypothetical example.

But hey, we are where we are.
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Riaz503 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Just because it works in the US doesn't mean it will work here; look at the dire state of the Local TV services - run on peanuts and presentation wise, well many non-professionals on YouTube have done better, let's put it that way.


You're really using the United States of America (Area: 9.834 million km², Population: 325,000,000) as evidence that localised television should still work here, in the United Kingdom (Area: 242,495 km², Population: 66,000,000)?


You would probably have been better off discussing this matter with Tom Margerison and his Network South rather than myself. I'm sure that he researched it well. Sadly he died in 2014.

Internet TV and YouTube took away a significant amount of the market for localised terrestrial TV in the US after 2005.

The indie thing turned out to be good for Thames if nothing else. In one week in 1994 Thames programmes propped up 42% of the air time between 7pm and 10pm on weeknights. But I think the idea was to try and break up the dominance of ITV programmes in the system after the success of Channel 4's model.


Little to do with the ITC. It was as a result of government legislation which aimed to stimulate a market which was being suffocated by a dominant commercial network. It worked - we now have a thriving independent production industry (including Thames, incidentally).


C4 was very successful at what it did resulting in a thriving independent production industry, but ITV was completely different beast as it was already a large scale producer of programmes. It could be argued that opening up ITV to programmes from indies was a miscalculated judgement by the government despite pressure from indies and a case of trying to fix what aint broken. If there was only 4 terrestrial channels then I can see the logic of it but large scale uptake of satellite and cable was just round the corner which would have provided plenty of alternative outlets for indies.

It is questionable whether the dominance of Thames as an indie rather than an ITV company messed up the government's vision to a large degree or not. One could be tempted to think that indies would produce many of the types of programmes that most ITV companies didn't like - such as religious programming or local events - and 'nuisance' programmes to comply with their PSB requirements along with more specialist material that ITV staff weren't very knowledgeable about, rather than popular prime time entertainment.

I'm a bit uncertain that Britain has a thriving independent production industry today because now we have a TV programme trade deficit although I'm not sure if the figures used to determine this included YouTube productions or not.
Last edited by Riaz on 4 December 2018 11:48am
Riaz503 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Sadly, I think the boat probably sailed as long ago as when Channel 4 was launched as a national (bar Wales) station, albeit one that functioned sort of as a contemporary ITV2 rather than a commercial rival to the existing regional network.


I'm of the opinion that C4 benefitted regional ITV companies because it enabled them to produce programmes that they would not otherwise have produced; or were not traditional ITV genres; or programmes that they could not easily network on ITV. The consolidation of ITV and the decline in programme production has subsequently impacted on C4 and not in a good way.
noggin13,884 posts since 26 Jun 2001
The elephants in the room that everyone ignores when comparing the UK TV market to the US market are the BBC and Channel 4.

The US model doesn't have two well-funded, popular, public service broadcasting TV organisations - commanding a 1/3rd of the viewing audience before any of the other networks make a start. Plus BBC One is the most popular channel in the UK.

That does make a significant change to the ecosystem - plus the US has a mix of O&O and Affiliates, plus network production, and syndication - which doesn't really map to any previous UK model does it? (The ITV model never really had separate network production - all non-indie productions were made by individual franchises, which would equate to large US local stations? ITV didn't have a separate 'network' production operation until it became ITV plc)
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Ne1L C547 posts since 11 Sep 2011
US Media markets are smaller than ITV regions on average though. The likes of London, Granada & Central West would be in the top ten media markets if England was in the United States.

In some ways, the Broadcasting Act 1990 took some inspiration from how US TV networks work. It allowed companies to own more than one license but this was restricted to, three, regardless of size; with no one company owning both London stations. The US has a similar system but it works on percentage of the national viewership share, so one can have fewer large stations of more smaller ones. It was subsequent legislation which moved towards 'de-regionalising' ITV in terms of both ownership and content obligations.

People shouldn't be comparing US regional networks with the local TV recently set up in this country (that mistake was why they came into existence in the first place). The local TV channels in this country are much smaller on average than US media markets, are largely standalone as opposed to being part of a national network and have to compete with umpteen stations, most broadcast directly into the area from London. US stations, on the other hand, only have a few rivals. Additional digital channels belong to the existing regional channels (a bit like the Digital 3 & 4 MUX here), there are no 'outsiders'.

To imagine a UK equivalent to the US system, you'd have something akin to the current BBC regions, perhaps with the Oxford & Hannington part of BBC South as a region and the West and East parts of BBC East being totally separate also. This isn't 'local' in the sense of 'Made In...' but it's closer to how it is in the US. Now imagine there is a network based in London that owns the London, West Midlands, North West and Yorkshire (Emiley Moor part) stations, with the others owned by other companies; duplicate this so you have a few competing networks and that's pretty much the US system.

I think a system along these lines could've worked in the UK. Sadly, I think the boat probably sailed as long ago as when Channel 4 was launched as a national (bar Wales) station, albeit one that functioned sort of as a contemporary ITV2 rather than a commercial rival to the existing regional network. It would've been interesting if instead they decided to create a rival regional network, an extra station in each region with similar PSB requirements - probably coinciding with a relaxing of ownership rules as in 1990 and probably also with the London weekeday/weekend split removed. It'd have been cool to have had a Liverpool-based rival to Granada, as a hypothetical example.

But hey, we are where we are.


https://www.transdiffusion.org/2001/08/01/affiliations

I have to admit the notion of 2 stations to 1 region intriguing. A hull based station covering East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire could have provided a challenge to either YTV or Anglia