ITV calls for help over News at Ten

ITV this week launched an aggressive call for advertisers and agencies to lend their tangible support to the drive to move News at Ten and schedule competitively against the BBC.

The call came as ITV unveiled a new on-screen identity and programme

line-up for 1999 in a bid to maintain the momentum of its recent

audience upturn.

ITV’s chief executive, Richard Eyre, stressed the importance of moving

the news bulletin and urged leading advertisers and agencies to write to

the Independent Television Commission, which is due to rule on the issue

next month. ’Please help us by getting involved,’ Eyre said.

He also called for co-operation on the issue of schedule secrecy, which

is vital for ITV to ensure that the BBC does not continually schedule

against it to steal audiences.

Eyre announced that there will be a consultation process with the

Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising to work out how best to maintain

confidentiality while providing enough information to enable agencies to

buy into specific programmes.

Jim Marshall, the chief executive of MediaVest and the IPA’s TV

spokesman, said that ITV had the IPA’s support on both the News at Ten

issue and the scheduling issue. ’We’re wholeheartedly in support of

allowing ITV the flexibility to schedule more aggressively,’ he

added.

Eyre’s call to action came as ITV’s marketing and commercial director,

John Hardie, launched a new on-screen look designed to position it as

’television from the heart’. Out goes the current logo, deemed too

corporate, in favour of a more consumer-friendly logo and on-air imagery

based on the heart. The new look goes live on Monday.

New shows unveiled for 1999 include an adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver

Twist by Alan Bleasdale, a drama set in London’s underworld, The Vice,

and a comedy from the creators of Men Behaving Badly - Wonderful

You.

Media Forum, p20.

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