History of ITV - 1982-1993


At the end of 1980, the IBA announced they would be reviewing the ITV broadcasting licences again, for contracts beginning on 1 January 1982. A few changes were made to the ITV structure, with the creation of 'Dual' regions for Wales and the West, the South and South East and the East and West Midlands. These regions were created following the push for more regional news. The company operating these regions had to provide a regional news service for both regions and provide studio facilities in both areas. The franchise round concluded with the following changes:

  • ATV was re-awarded their contract for the dual Midlands region, but was considered by the IBA to have not focused on their region enough. As a result changes were ordered including the diluting of existing shareholdings and greater production facilities in the contract area; to emphasize these actions the company was told to rename themselves. The newly-named Central Independent Television took over from ATV on 1 January 1982.
  • Southern Television lost their licence for the South of England, in favour of Television South (TVS).
  • Westward Television also lost their licence for South West England, being replaced by Television South West (TSW).
  • The new nation-wide breakfast television service was awarded to TV-am.
  • Trident Television was ordered to sell the majority of its holdings in Yorkshire and Tyne Tees, and the two companies became independent of each other again.
  • The Bluebell Hill transmitter was transferred from Thames/LWT to TVS, to increase the size of their South-East region.

This period saw the ITV companies, and the BBC, expand their services further into the day that ever before. As large part of this was a result of the franchising of a breakfast service in 1980. TV-am was awarded this contract and given a provisional start date of May 1983. There had been other programmes previously; most notably the Yorkshire Television programme Good Morning Calendar, which had shown that the public were interested in a breakfast service. As a result, TV-am and the BBC both rushed to begin their own service. TV-am would broadcast between the hours of 6am and 9.25am every morning; the somewhat obscure 9.25 close time came about in order to allow time to switch transmitters from the breakfast broadcaster over to the regional ITV stations; today this transition is seamless, though the anomaly remains. TV-am launched as a serious news programme on 1 February 1983, however changed their format soon after to attempt to copy the success of the BBC's Breakfast Time programme.

Another expansion came in 1987 when ITV Schools programming was moved from ITV Daytime to Channel 4, freeing up a large section of the daytime schedule for new programming. This expansion in programming, and in advertising time, helped give the stations a boost. At about the same time, the companies began to move into Night time broadcasting. This began with individual efforts by individual companies, primarily the 'Big Five', before collaborative efforts resulted in the whole network operating 24 hours a day by the end of 1988. Notable efforts included Night Network by LWT, Night Time by Granada and ITV Night Time by London News Network.

2 November 1982 saw the launch of Channel 4, which built on the ITV network for its funding. The ITV companies sold Channel 4's airtime until 31 December 1992, after which a 'funding formula' continued, whereby the ITV companies would subsidize Channel 4 if it fell into losses. However, it never did, and the funding formula was withdrawn in 1998. During the period 1982-98, Channel 4 and ITV would regularly cross-promote each other's programming, free of charge. Whilst this was clearly in everyone's interest prior to 1993, after this date the two channels were effectively competing, and as part of the funding formula they were required to cross-promote a number of programmes each day.

ITV introduced its first official corporate logo and national on-air identity in September 1989; this was an attempt to unify the network under one image while still allowing for regional identity. However, Anglia, Channel, Ulster, TVS, and TSW refused to use the generic idents that were designed for their regions, preferring to stay with their distinctive on-screen branding. The regions to have the longest use of the generic ident were Yorkshire, who kept it on until October 1994, and Grampian who continued to use the 1989 generic ident right up until ITV's new corporate logo was introduced in 1998.

Another new introduction was the ITV Telethon. This event, held in 1988, 1990 and 1992, saw the regional companies and the national network come together to raise money for charity. The 27 hour telethons were suspended following the change of culture at ITV following the franchise changes in 1993.

Read more about this topic:  History Of ITV

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