ITV’s drive to maximise its audiences and advertising revenue has led to
an over-reliance on light-entertainment, according to the Independent
Television Commission’s review of its licencees’ performance last year.
The ITC report identifies a noticeable shift in the overall balance of
the ITV schedule towards more entertainment-led programmes, and less
documentary and arts output.
‘Less obviously popular programming such as education, religion and arts
were often in the margins of the schedule,’ the report said.
Total revenue for the channel was up 3 per cent, to pounds 2.184
billion, with 77 per cent of this total coming from advertising and
sponsorship. Programme sales account for the rest.
The ITC singled out the number of bought-in programmes on Channel 4 as
an area of concern, but refused to attribute this decline to payments
made by Channel 4 to ITV under the Government’s funding formula.
GMTV’s performance was generally praised, although there was concern
about an over-provision of children’s entertainment programming.
Of the individual ITV contractors, Granada, LWT and Yorkshire were
criticised for the number of co-produced programmes, reducing the
regional content of the output.