MEDIA: ITV REBRANDING - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. ITV's new idents have a fresher feel but better programming is still needed

It has become very easy, and very fashionable, to knock ITV. And if it was honest with itself (now there's a novel thought), ITV would have to accept that it has been the architect of its own downfall. Whether it was the ITV Digital fiasco, or its seeming inability to stop massive audience decline in the face of competition, or the current furore surrounding Carlton and Granada's proposed merger, ITV does seem to have become a bit of an "own goal" specialist.

It would be very easy for me to take the cynical view and suggest that this rebranding of ITV is tantamount to the rearranging of deckchairs on the Titanic. However, as it is in all our interests to see a strong ITV, capable of delivering significant audiences, anything that can begin to arrest the real and perceived decline in ITV should be given proper consideration.

Let's be realistic. Any changes or improvements to on-air branding will not in itself deliver a dramatic difference in ITV's fortunes but it does make sense to have a more coherent and relevant channel identity. To give ITV's marketing director, Jim Hytner, credit, he is a realist and accepts this is the start of a process and not the definitive solution.

The use of ITV's stable of star names in trailers is a simple but effective promotional tool and will help to engender some viewer familiarity and loyalty. However, the more discerning modern viewer really identifies with specific programmes, not channels, and therefore focusing on the programme budget will prove to be of far more importance.

The new idents look fresher, modern and more relevant and allow the ITV "family" (ITV, ITV2, ITV Sport, etc) to show a united viewer proposition.

Dropping the regional identities and logos to create a single brand proposition makes good sense. The more demanding TV viewer today with a range of channels and programmes to choose from will certainly find any regional identity an irrelevance.

The regional identity might be of more relevance in Scotland and Northern Ireland and it is interesting that both SMG and Ulster are declining to adopt this rebrand. I suspect, however, that this has got more to do with pre-merger positioning than a genuine support of viewers' regional loyalty.

The most significant change is the introduction of the end-credit promotions that will promote upcoming programmes. This is a good move and allows effective programme promotion while the viewer is still engaged with the current programme.

It will also make the transition into the ad break a lot cleaner and reduce promotional clutter that can have a negative impact on the paid-for advertising.

Overall this rebranding must be seen as a positive step. But let's keep a sense of perspective - ITV's twin objectives in this process are to help drive mass audiences and to put some magic back into ITV1. This rebranding can help but everyone knows the real solution to these objectives is through the delivery of quality programmes.

- Chris Boothby, the broadcast director at BBJ, hopes that Spurs can also recapture their glory days.

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