Between the Lines: ITV needs better TV output

ITV's chief executive, Charles Allen, told Campaign that ITV's restructure was designed to "focus the whole company on the needs of four groups - agencies, advertisers, viewers and consumers".

There's only one way to satisfy these needs: make better programmes.

ITV has thus far failed to avert a ratings decline, despite boasting one of the largest programme budgets in Europe. While multichannel is often blamed, many share Bernard Balderston's belief that the slump is as much to do with poor programming decisions (page 1).

By handing creative control to the Granada chief, Simon Shaps, Allen has attempted to convince agencies that quality programming is ITV's main priority. However, those who believe ITV's problems stem from its obligation to air Granada-produced shows will not be comforted by the appointment.

And what will worry advertisers more are Allen's calls for contract rights renewal to be scrapped - for the Scot has an uncanny habit of persuading Ofcom to see things his way.