Definitions

ITN

ITN

ITN (Independent Television News) is a major news and content provider with headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is made up of six key businesses: ITN News, ITN Source, ITN On, ITN Factual, Visual Voodoo and ITN Consulting.

Today ITN produces content for ITV, Channel 4, More4, PBS, 300 commercial radio stations in the UK and up to 40 in Ireland through Independent Radio News (IRN), all UK mobile phone operators, Google, MSN and countless film producers and researchers worldwide. ITN also produces a huge amount of programming for UK, US and European broadcasters through its programme making divisions. ITN is based in London, with bureaux and offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sydney and Washington, D.C.

History

ITN was founded in 1955 as part of the new British commercial television network, referred to as 'Independent Television' (later ITV) by the Independent Television Authority. It began as a consortium of the initial broadcasters, with former Labour MP Aidan Crawley as Editor-in-Chief. London weekday broadcaster Associated-Rediffusion offered the new company studio space in their headquarters in Aldwych. The ITN 'newscaster' presenting their first broadcast was champion athlete Christopher Chataway. Geoffrey Cox joined as News Editor in 1956 after Crowley resigned, and got interviewers like Robin Day. AS ITV expanded each ITV company that made up the networks' federal structure had to purchase a stake in ITN and to continue to finance the company.

It has provided the main national news bulletins for ITV since 1955. News was always branded as ITN until 1999 when the Carlton and Granada partnership which were important stakeholders renamed it simply as ITV News. From this point, the name ITN was gradually phased out, and now only appears in the production caption. The main ITV News bulletins are currently at 5.30am, 1.30pm, 6.30pm and 10.00pm with news summaries which vary throughout the morning, weekdays.

Even though national coverage is produced by ITN, it has no role in the regional coverage provided for each individual ITV region's newsroom, with the exception of the news for the London ITV region (Carlton/LWT), which has been run by ITN since March 2004, following its acquisition of the London News Network a company previously owned by the now merged Carlton and Granada.

With the launch of Britain's second commercial station in 1982, ITN was given the job of providing news for Channel 4, named as Channel 4 News. As of today, it is shown at 7pm and a smaller bulletin, News at Noon, is also aired at 12pm. This lunchtime bulletin is also simulcast on S4C analogue in Wales. Channel 4 launched digital channel More4 in 2005 and ITN has also supplied the More4 News programme after the Channel 4 News finishes at 8pm.

Until the 1990s, ITN had a guaranteed right and obligation to provide news for ITV and Channel 4. Changes however, dating from the Broadcasting Act 1990, meant that ITN had to apply and bid for a licence to provide such services on these networks, and would have to fight competition in order to preserve its services, as had become the case with other ITV franchisees. The biggest challenge came in 2001 when BSkyB bid to supply network news to ITV as part of a consortium. ITN eventually succeeded and was awarded a contract extension to 2008. Failure did eventually strike however, when in January 2005 Sky News began to supply bulletins to Five. ITN had produced Five News since its launch in 1997, when the channel was known as Channel 5.

In August 2000, the organisation launched its own 24 hour news channel in the UK, which was broadcast on satellite, cable and digital terrestrial. It was 50% owned by ITN and 50% owned by NTL. Carlton and Granada gradually bought out the two stakes and renamed the channel the ITV News Channel. The ITV News Channel closed down at 6pm on 23 December 2005, with poor ratings in comparison to BBC News 24 and Sky News, and ITV's desire to re-use the channel's allocation on Freeview, being cited as the reasons for its closure.

Mark Wood has been Chief Executive of ITN since June 2003 and Chairman since July 1998. He was previously Editor-In-Chief of Reuters from 1989 to 2000, in charge of the company's news and television operations worldwide. In 2000 he took charge of Reuters strategic media investments and alliances. He is also currently Chairman of MLA, the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives.

In June 2006, ITN underwent repositioning and rebranding in order to reflect changes to the range of services it provides. ITN is now split into five key businesses: ITN News, ITN Source (formerly ITN Archive), ITN On (formerly ITN Multimedia and Radio), ITN Consulting, and production houses ITN Factual and Visual Voodoo. Each of these businesses has its own logo and colour.

It was announced on 12 September, 2007 that ITN has been appointed producer of Setanta Sports News, the new 24-hour sports news channel jointly owned by Setanta Sports and Virgin Media. The channel is available to Virgin Media's 3 million UK digital subscribers, operating with Setanta's sports channels, which include exclusive coverage of the Barclays Premier League and Scotland's Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Operations

ITN News

ITN's first bulletin aired on 22nd September 1955, the day commercial television was born in the UK.

ITN began its own World News bulletins in the late 1980s, which were shown around the world on local television channels, particularly on PBS stations in the US, where presenter Daljit Dhaliwal (now with the BBC) enjoyed cult status. These were discontinued in 2001, in the face of competition from dedicated news channels such as BBC World (now known as BBC World News), although it still provides footage to CNN International, and reports often appear on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Its ITV Evening News bulletin was shown on the Newsworld International cable channel in the US.

In the 1990s, under new ownership, it was accused of abandoning its previous news style, which was broadsheet in style, to mid-market tabloid, with news stories that focused on personalities in the news rather than heavy news coverage. The change in style matched changes in the nature of news coverage on the ITV Network (which has seen the network and ITN accused of dumbing down its style), which saw the axing of the long-running and award winning World in Action current affairs and investigative journalism news programme in 1998. ITN's most famous news programme, News at Ten was also controversially replaced by an 11pm news bulletin in 1999, in order to allow ITV to broadcast films without the interruption of a 10 o'clock news bulletin. News at Ten was subsequently re-instated in 2001 after heavy public criticism over the change. The restored News at Ten, was, however, ten minutes shorter than its predecessor and carried less in-depth news coverage. It also was broadcast at a later time at least one day a week, which meant it was often referred to as News at When?. Since March 1999, the name ITN and its logo no longer features in the opening credits of the organisation's bulletins, with the term ITV News assuming prominence instead. The ITN name is now only seen at the end of bulletins.

There was increasing speculation that News at Ten will once again be moved permanently, after under-performing against the Ten O'Clock News on BBC One which is broadcast every Daily at 10:00pm. In October 2003, the Independent Television Commission gave ITV approval to move News at Ten.

The ITV News at 10.30 launched on ITV on February 2, 2004 (the day that ITV in England and Wales came under the ownership of a single company) and was presented by Sir Trevor McDonald. The programme was longer than its predecessor and carried an integrated regional bulletin. ITV News editors say that they are aiming at a more upmarket audience and the new programme carries a nightly sports roundup, more business stories and a preview of the next day's newspapers. In a large rebranding of ITV and its channels, the news at 10:30 was rebranded on 16 January 2006 as the Nightly News and was presented by Mark Austin. The rebranded programme again saw new titles, this time featuring people walking over the face of Big Ben, and has lately followed a more "sensationalist" approach to its main headlines. News at Ten on 14th January 2008 with Sir Trevor McDonald and Julie Etchingham.

Similarly, ITN's 24-hour news channel (launched some distance behind the wake of Sky News and BBC News 24) was jointly bought by the main ITV companies Carlton and Granada, and subsequently renamed and re-branded as the ITV News Channel.

In March 2004 ITN took over production of ITV London's regional news programmes, which relocated from the The London Television Centre on the South Bank to ITN's Gray's Inn Road base. ITN operates a radio news service on behalf of IRN Independent Radio News, and between 1996 and 2002 owned a share of London News Radio, which was based at ITN's Gray's Inn Road HQ and operated the LBC and News Direct London radio stations.

Channel 4 News

ITN is also home to Channel 4 News, producing the programme since the channel's inception in 1982.

Channel 4 News flagship programme is 55 minutes of in-depth news and current affairs broadcast at 7pm each weekday, and at times that vary on Saturdays and Sundays. The evening programme is presented by Jon Snow.

A half hour noon programme goes out Monday to Friday and is presented by Krishnan Guru-Murthy. ITN launched More4 News on More4 in October 2005 presented by Sarah Smith. Kylie Morris took over presenting duties in June 2007 and Smith was posted to the US as Channel 4 News's Washington correspondent.

ITN Source

ITN Source (formerly ITN Archive) is one of the world’s largest commercial providers of motion imagery, with access to over 800,000 hours of footage from 1896 to the present, including news, drama, celebrity, comedy, music, wildlife, natural history and film. The archive is growing at a rate of over 20 hours a day.

ITN Source represents the world’s largest collection of moving image libraries including Reuters, ITN, Channel 4, Granada, British Pathe, UTV, FOX News, FOX Movietone and other specialist collections.

With headquarters in London, ITN Source has sales offices in New York, Canada, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg, Sydney and Tokyo.

Setanta Sports News

Setanta Sports News is a 24-hour sports news television channel from Virgin Media Television and Setanta Sports, launched on 29 November 2007, available in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. It is available to all Virgin Media customers and also free-to-view via satellite. The channel is seen as Virgin Media's rival to Sky Sports News, which was removed from their platform on 1 March 2007 as their contract with BSkyB had ended.

On 12 September 2007 ITN announced it had been appointed producer of Setanta Sports News.

ITN On

ITN On, formerly known as ITN Multimedia, came into being in 2003, providing the first video news bulletin for third generation (3G) mobile phone operator 3. It has since expanded its video news service to Vodafone Live! T-Mobile and Orange. ITN On also offers a range of news and entertainment content to broadband operators including MSN, YouTube, Yahoo, Bebo, Telegraph Media Group and Virgin Media. In February 2007 ITN On launched ITN Hub, its news and weather gadget on Microsoft's new operating system Windows Vista.

ITN On's radio division IRN supplies news to over 250 commercial radio stations throughout the UK with a daily audience of 24 million.

IRN bulletins are available at http://www.irn.co.uk/audio/news.wma

ITN Factual

ITN Factual has created hundreds of hours of programmes for major international broadcasters including all the UK's main broadcasters as well as The Discovery Channel, A&E TV Networks, PBS, and The National Geographic Channel in the US. Recent productions include Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel (C4), Nearly History - USS Cole (Discovery US) and Dispatches - The Data Theft Scandal (C4).

Visual Voodoo

Visual Voodoo make factual entertainment programmes for ITV, Channel 4, Five and the multi-channel world. Recent programmes include The World's Most Offensive Joke (C4), 100 Greatest Stand Ups (C4), The Music of Morse (ITV3) and Little Britain - A Showbiz Marriage (Five).

Ownership

From its inception in 1955, ITN was originally owned jointly by all the ITV operating companies, the shares split roughly in proportion to each company's advertising income. However (largely at the behind-the-scenes instigation of ITN's then management) the 1990 Broadcasting Act limited the ITV companies to a maximum joint 49% stake, with no single company allowed more than a 20% holding. These requirements were abolished by the Communications Act 2003.

ITN is currently owned by ITV plc (40%), Daily Mail and General Trust (20%), Thomson Reuters (20%), and United Business Media plc (20%). ITV plc's shareholding forms part of that company's wider ITV News Group, incorporating ITV plc's regional operations in England and Wales, plus ITV Sport. The Director of the ITV News Group is Mark Sharman.

ITV's ownership of 40% of ITN (at that time equally split between Carlton and Granada) made the 2001 bid from Sky for ITV bulletins unlikely to succeed, the network having a vested interest to see ITN continue. But it did lead to a reduction in the value of the ITV News contract from £46million per annum to £35million, at a time the ITV companies had originally budgeted they might have to pay £70 million.

The current ITN contract for ITV News expires at the end of 2012. On April 2, 2007 ITN signed a deal which superseded the existing contract, worth at least £42m per year. ITV, which owns 40% of ITN, is investing more than £15m to upgrade ITN's newsroom as part of the deal. It is believed ITV decided to sign an early deal with ITN without putting the contract out for tender, as it did last time round when Sky News bid, because of the need to press ahead with technological improvements.

Parodies

  • ITN has been spoofed several times on ITV's The Benny Hill Show, namely in one 1971 show with the logo reading "NIT" instead of "ITN", and with Benny Hill as Reginald Boozenquet and Andrew Gardner. ITN was also spoofed in 1978 in the Leprechaun Independent Television sketch with Benny as Angela O'Rippon, a parody of Angela Rippon, and again with Benny as Ann Afford, a parody of Anna Ford. It was also spoofed in a black and white 1971 show and a 1973 episode.

References

External links

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