ITV (TV network)
This article is about a nation-wide television channel group.
For the channel itself serving England, Wales and the Channel Islands, see ITV (TV channel).
For a channel operator, see ITV plc.
For a unassociated Indian media group, see ITV Network (India).
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Owner||ITV plc (13 licences)
STV Group (2 licences)
|Launched||22 September 1955; 65 years ago (1955-09-22)|
It was launched in 1955 as Independent Television to provide competition to BBC Television, which had been established in 1932.
ITV is the oldest commercial network in the UK.
ITV is a network of television companies that operate regional television services and also share programmes between each other to be shown on the entire network.
ITV plc holds the Channel 3 broadcasting licences for every region except central and northern Scotland, which are held by STV Group.
Main article: History of ITV
The act created the Independent Television Authority (ITA, then IBA after the Sound Broadcasting Act) to heavily regulate the industry and to award franchises.
The first six franchises were awarded in 1954 for London, the Midlands and the North of England, with separate franchises for Weekdays and Weekends.
The first ITV network to launch was London's Associated-Rediffusion on 22 September 1955, with the Midlands and North services launching in February 1956 and May 1956 respectively.
Following these launches, the ITA awarded more franchises until the whole country was covered by fourteen regional stations, all launched by 1962.
The network has been modified several times through franchise reviews that have taken place in 1963, 1967, 1974, 1980 and 1991, during which broadcast regions have changed and service operators have been replaced.
Only one service operator has ever been declared bankrupt, WWN in 1963, with all other operators leaving the network as a result of a franchise review.
Separate weekend franchises were removed in 1968 (with the exception of London) and over the years more services were added; these included a national breakfast franchise from 1983 onward—operating between 6:00 am and 9:25 am—and a teletext service.
The Broadcasting Act 1990 changed the nature of ITV; the then regulator the IBA was replaced with a light-touch regulator, the ITC; companies became able to purchase other ITV regional companies and franchises were now being awarded based upon a highest-bidder auction, with few safeguards in place.
This heavily criticised part of the review saw four operators replaced, and the operators facing different annual payments to the Treasury: Central Television, for example, paid only £2000—despite holding a lucrative and large region—because it was unopposed, while Yorkshire Television paid £37.7 million for a region of the same size and status, owing to heavy competition.
Following the 1993 changes, ITV as a network began to consolidate with several companies doing so to save money by ceasing the duplication of services present when they were all separate companies.
By 2004, ITV was owned by five companies, of which two, Carlton and Granada had become major players by owning between them all the franchises in England, Wales, the Scottish borders and the Isle of Man.
That same year, the two merged to form ITV plc with the only subsequent acquisitions being the takeover of Channel Television, the Channel Islands franchise, in 2011; and UTV, the franchise for Northern Ireland, in 2015.
Organisation (other networks)
The ITV network is not owned or operated by one company, but by a number of licensees, which provide regional services while also broadcasting programmes across the network.
Since 2016, the fifteen licences are held by two companies, with the majority held by ITV Broadcasting Limited, part of ITV plc.
The network is regulated by the media regulator Ofcom who is responsible for awarding the broadcast licences.
The last major review of the Channel 3 franchises was in 1991, with all operators' licences having been renewed between 1999 and 2002 and again from 2014 without a further contest.
While this has been the longest period that the ITV Network has gone without a major review of its licence holders, Ofcom announced (following consultation) that it would split the Wales and West licence from 1 January 2014, creating a national licence for Wales and joining the newly separated West region to Westcountry Television, to form a new licence for the enlarged South West of England region.
All companies holding a licence were part of the non-profit body ITV Network Limited, which commissioned and scheduled network programming, with compliance previously handled by ITV plc and Channel Television.
However, due to amalgamation of several of these companies since the creation of ITV Network Limited (and given Channel Television is now owned by ITV plc), it has been replaced by an affiliation system.
All licensees have the right to opt out of network programming (except for the national news bulletins), however many do not due to pressures from the parent company or because of limited resources.
Prior to the affiliate system being introduced, STV would frequently (and sometimes controversially) opt out of several popular network programmes – such as the original run of the first series of Downton Abbey – citing the need to provide more Scottish content to its viewers.
As a public service broadcaster, the ITV network is obliged to broadcast programming of public importance, including news, current affairs, children's and religious programming as well as party election broadcasts on behalf of the major political parties and political events, such as the Budget.
The network also needs to produce accessible output containing subtitles, signing and audio description.
In exchange for this programming, the ITV network is available on all platforms free to air and can be found at the top of the EPG of all providers.
Since the launch of the platform in 1998, all of the ITV licensees have received gifted capacity on the digital terrestrial television platform.
UTV and STV (formerly Scottish Television and Grampian Television) previously broadcast their own services – UTV2 in Northern Ireland and S2 in central and northern Scotland – until 2002, when they adopted the ITV plc channels.
ITV Box Office launched in February 2017.
Main article: ITV plc
ITV plc owns thirteen of the fifteen franchises and broadcasts to England, Wales, southern Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland through its subsidiary companies ITV Broadcasting Limited, and UTV Limited The company also owns the breakfast contractor that broadcasts across the network between 6:00 and 9:25am each morning using the Good Morning Britain (previously Daybreak) and Lorraine names.
The company broadcasts a centralised service under the ITV brand.
In Northern Ireland, ITV uses the UTV brand name.
The group also owns ITV Studios, the production arm of the company and formed from an amalgamation of all the production departments of the regional licences they own.
The company produces a large proportion of ITV's networked programming (around 47%, but previously as high as 66% according to some reports), with the rest coming primarily from independent suppliers (under the Broadcasting Act 1990, at least 25% of ITV's total output must be from independent companies).
ITV plc hopes to increase the amount of in-house programming to as close to the 75% limit as possible.
The group cut the number of regional news programmes offered from 17 in 2007 to 9 by 2009, resulting several regions being merged to form one programme, including the Border Television and Tyne Tees Television regions, the Westcountry Television and West regions and the removal of sub regional programming, with some regions only represented by pre-recorded segments.
Main article: STV Group
The company has had several disputes with ITV plc in recent years over network programming.
Despite STV's explanation of expense, ITV plc were angered by the decision, as a recent schedule change had made The Bill central to their programming, and broadcast the programmes on ITV3 as well to ensure Scottish viewers could see the programmes.
On 23 September ITV was reported to be in the process of suing STV for £20 million, as ITV plc felt dropping the shows constituted a breach of network agreements; STV subsequently counter-sued ITV plc for £35 million.
The dispute was ended in 2011 with STV agreeing to pay ITV plc £18 million.
The signing of the new affiliation deal has resulted in STV paying a flat fee for all networked programming, and so to drop any programmes is unlikely due to the large costs involved.
Further information: List of ITV regions
There are fourteen regional licences and one national licence for the breakfast service.
Other licences exist to provide specific programming services, such as Teletext and national news, but are not listed here.
All licences listed here were renewed until the end of 2024.
Licences in England and Wales were held by the individual regional ITV plc owned companies prior to November 2008.
|Regional Channel 3 Licences|
|Licence Service Area||Licence Holder||Licence held since||Parent Company||Service Name||On Air Name|
|North of Scotland||STV North Limited||30 September 1961||STV Group plc||STV North||STV|
|Central Scotland||STV Central Limited||31 August 1957||STV Group plc||STV Central||STV|
|Northern Ireland||ITV Broadcasting Limited||31 October 1959||ITV plc||UTV||UTV|
|Channel Islands||ITV Broadcasting Limited||March 2017||ITV plc||ITV Channel TV||ITV|
|England–Scotland Border||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Border||ITV|
|North East England||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Tyne Tees||ITV|
|Yorkshire and Lincolnshire||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Yorkshire||ITV|
|North West England and Isle of Man||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Granada||ITV|
|Wales||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Cymru Wales||ITV Cymru Wales|
|East, West and South Midlands||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Central||ITV|
|East of England||ITV Broadcasting Limited||December 2006||ITV plc||ITV Anglia||ITV|
|London (weekdays)||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV London (weekdays)||ITV|
|London (weekends)||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV London (weekends)||ITV|
|South and South East England||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV Meridian||ITV|
|South West and West of England||ITV Broadcasting Limited||November 2008||ITV plc||ITV West Country||ITV|
|National Channel 3 Licences|
|Licence Service Area||Licence Holder||Licence held since||Parent Company||Service Name||On Air Name|
|National breakfast time||ITV Breakfast Broadcasting Limited||1993||ITV plc||ITV Breakfast||ITV|
Availability outside the UK
Since 27 March 2013, it has been offered by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) to members of HM Forces and their families around the world, replacing the BFBS3 TV channel, which already carried a selection of ITV programmes.
Since the launch of ITV, there have been concerns from politicians and the press that ITV faced a conflict concerning programme audiences and advertisers.
As advertisers are reluctant to buy advertising space around low viewing programmes, there is a pressure on ITV to broadcast more popular programmes in peak times.
This has become more profound in recent years following a relaxation in regulation and significantly more competition in the advertising market following the huge increase in commercial channels.
In recent years, programmes have started to dominate from the reality television genre including the celebrity and talent show subgenres.
This has led to accusations of ITV 'dumbing down' their programmes and appealing to the 'lowest common denominator', accusations that are at odds with the network's status as a public service broadcaster.
ITV was/is also heavily criticised for scaling back its regional programmes, including regional news, also ITV has been criticised (since 2010) for showing Emmerdale and Coronation Street at the 8:30 weekday slot (except Tuesdays).
Awards and nominations
|2017||Diversity in Media Awards||Broadcaster of the Year||ITV||Nominated|
<gallery> File:ITV logo 1989.svg|First logo, used from 1989 to 1998 File:ITV logo 1998 - 2006.svg|Second logo used from 1998 to 2006 File:ITV logo.svg|Third logo used from 2006 to 2013 (ITV-branded regions only) File:ITV (Fernsehsender) logo.svg|Fourth logo used from 2013 to 2019 (ITV-branded regions File:ITV logo.svg 2019-present|fifth logo
- List of ITV channels
- List of ITV journalists and newsreaders
- List of television programmes broadcast by ITV
- List of television stations in the United Kingdom
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITV (TV network).