LEADER: ITV needs quality at the centre of its programming

Although ITV has been spared the rod in this week’s ITC Annual Report, there is still much work to be done at Network Centre.

Although ITV has been spared the rod in this week’s ITC Annual

Report, there is still much work to be done at Network Centre.



Richard Eyre and his team of reformers find themselves with a shrinking

share of commercial TV ad revenue, down from 72% to 66%, and

increasingly robust competition from cable and satellite, where ad

revenue grew by 50%.



Better programming is what advertisers want, but, faced with this fall

in revenue, ITV was only able to spend 1% more on programmes in

1997.



But spend more they must, because programme quality counts for more now

than ever before. ITV must be seen to be delivering output that

advertisers can’t get from smaller rivals with lower programming

budgets.



A preoccupation, as the ITC says, ’with crime, the emergency services

and the paranormal’, is hardly making it stand out in the commercial TV

world.



Advertisers like the ability of cable, satellite and - when it launches

- digital to deliver niche audiences, but they realise that they are

getting a cheaper product. As advertisers frequently protest, ITV is far

from being a cheap product, so the more it looks like its smaller

rivals, the more ad revenue it will lose.