- 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 the network unveiled a new on-screen identity and new programme line-up for 1999 in a bid to maintain the momentum of its recent audience upturn.
The ITV chief executive, Richard Eyre, stressed the importance of moving the ten o'clock 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 whilst 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 the introduction of heart on-air imagery. The new look goes live next Monday.
New shows for 1999 also unveiled this week include a season of every James Bond movie ever made, an adaptation of Dickens' Oliver Twist by Alan Bleasdale, a new drama set in London's underworld, The Vice, and new comedy from the creators of Men Behaving Badly -- Wonderful You.