Eyre warns News at Ten must be moved for ITV to achieve targets

ITV will fail to meet its audience targets unless it is allowed to move News at Ten from its current slot, ITV’s chief executive, Richard Eyre, said this week.

ITV will fail to meet its audience targets unless it is allowed to

move News at Ten from its current slot, ITV’s chief executive, Richard

Eyre, said this week.



Speaking at a Royal Television Society dinner on Tuesday, Eyre told

guests that if the Independent Television Commission rejected the

proposal to move the bulletin to 6.30pm, ITV would find it impossible to

achieve its audience potential.



Back in January, Eyre took the radical step of revealing ITV’s audience

targets to the advertising community in a bid to make the network more

accountable. He pledged to take ITV’s share of peak-time audiences up to

40 per cent by the year 2000.



It emerged this week, however, that these targets were based on ITV

being able to maximise audiences in the 10pm slot at present occupied by

News at Ten.



Eyre also told RTS guests that the decision to move the news bulletin

should not be influenced by politicians, many of whom have voiced firm

opposition to the proposal. ’We can’t have politicians telling us where

to put TV programmes,’ he insisted.



But Eyre made it clear that the call to move News at Ten would not set a

trend in trying to unpick programming commitments made by the ITV

stations in their licence applications. The regional flavour of ITV, for

example, was an asset to the channel that should be protected by

continued investment in local programming and news.



On the eve of the launch of Sky Digital, Eyre also talked about the

future of ITV in the digital age - with hundreds of channels vying for

viewers’ attention - and cautioned against seeing digital as a panacea

for advertisers.



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