ITV pushes for schedule changes

ITV companies are lobbying the Independent Television Commission to relax its programming and scheduling commitments as they prepare for the renewal of their licences at the start of 1999.

ITV companies are lobbying the Independent Television Commission to

relax its programming and scheduling commitments as they prepare for the

renewal of their licences at the start of 1999.



Crucial to ITV’s plans will be the rescheduling of News at Ten. Under

present ITV thinking, the main news bulletin will be moved to 6.30pm,

with a 15-minute update at 11pm. This would give ITV a clear run from

7pm to 11pm for peak-time programming.



Such a plan will require a change in some of the programming

requirements laid down in the ITV licences. The ITC is canvassing

opinion on the shape of the new licences and is willing to consider



reviewing their terms.



ITV bosses are arguing that a number of ’pseudo’ public service

programming requirements are hampering their ability to be competitive

in a multi-channel market.



The level of regional programming required of the individual ITV

broadcasters is coming under the spotlight as the newly invigorated

Network Centre grapples with plans for stronger schedules across the

entire network.



The requirement to provide religious programming and stipulations

governing the format of programming for children are being questioned by

ITV because they do not allow the channel to schedule effectively

against rivals with fewer restrictions.



The revelations come two weeks after ITV admitted it was seeking changes

to the way its payments to the Treasury are calculated.



New proposals are understood to base payments on the amount of ad

revenue taken by the broadcasters, and ITV is lobbying for Sky to be

brought into the loop and pay tax on its revenue.



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