ITV to revamp news operation as Hutton blasts BBC editorial

Lord Hutton has called the editorial reputation of BBC News into question in his report into the death of the Government weapons inspector, Dr David Kelly. This comes as ITV relaunches its news operation.

Hutton describes the BBC's editorial system as "defective" and criticises its management for failing to examine the notes of the Today programme reporter Andrew Gilligan's interview with Dr Kelly. He also accuses the BBC governors of failing to investigate Gilligan's actions properly.

While this criticism is likely to lead to intense scrutiny of the BBC's governance structure, particularly in light of the BBC's Charter renewal in 2006, the industry will be watching to see what effect this damage to credibility has on long-term television news viewing.

The damning report comes less than a week before ITV relaunches its news operation with the creation of the ITV News Group and a regular 10.30pm timeslot for ITV's nightly news bulletin. ITV will be keen to capitalise on the BBC's misfortunes.

Of the terrestrial channels, BBC1's ten o'clock bulletin is the most watched with an average TV rating of 9.3. ITV's News at Ten follows with a 5.7 TVR and Channel 4 with an average of 2.

Sky News is the biggest of the multichannel news operations with a 1.7 per cent share, followed by BBC News 24 with 1.3 per cent and ITV News with 0.4 per cent,

"Even with the publishing of the Hutton Report, I still believe that the BBC's audience will remain steady. Indeed, it may even grow given that ITV is moving its news to 10.30pm," Andrew Canter, the broadcast director at Media Planning Group, said.

"If ITV retains its audience at the later time, it will be doing well."