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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
ITN's global expansion
Trevor McDonald
Trevor McDonald has become the face of ITV news
ITN has provided news for ITV for the last 46 years, after being created in 1954 by the Television Act, a year before ITV began broadcasting in the UK.

It was set up by the Independent Television Authority to provide independent, reliable news for ITV.

ITN, which was owned by the ITV companies, quickly set about establishing its reputation as a reliable provider of global news.

ITN logo
ITN was set up in 1955
It has expanded to provide news programming and news services to every commercial television channel in the UK - ITV, GMTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 - as well as supplying UK news and facilities to Reuters.

Its best-known programme, News at Ten, was launched in July 1967 as the first half-hour news programme on television.

Newscaster Trevor McDonald became its sole anchor in 1992, and seven years later the ITC allowed ITV to move its news programmes to allow greater scheduling freedom.

But by September 2000 a new agreement was reached between ITV and the ITC, resulting in a relaunch of News at Ten, again anchored by McDonald.

Channel 4's news
Channel 4's news is provided by ITN
It now battles for viewers in the timeslot which it shares with the BBC three nights per week.

Branching out into radio, ITN also operates two of London's radio stations - LBC 1152AM and News Direct 97.3FM. And it supplies news to the nationwide Independent Radio News network, with a weekly audience reach of 28 million people.

By 1990, following that year's Broadcasting Act, ITN became a profit-making news business built around commercial contracts.

It is owned by a consortium comprising Carlton Communications, Granada, Daily Mail & General Trust, United Business Media and Reuters - each with a 20% shareholding.


ITN has also extended into the realms of new media, with its news website providing content and services to third-party platforms including interactive digital television.

Its ITN Archive is one of the largest commercial archives in the world, while ITN Factual and its subsidiary Visual Voodoo produce documentary programmes for UK and foreign television.

The UK is not the only country to receive news from ITN, however.

It also operates the pan-European TV news channel EuroNews, based in Lyon, which is available to 100 million people in 43 countries.


And it produces the daily programme World News for Public Television for the American market where it can be seen by half of all US households.

Its expansion has continued into 2000, with the launch of the ITN News Channel, the 24-hour ITN-branded news service available across TV, video, audio and text.

This was a key moment for ITN - from then on the organisation moved from being a supplier of news to a news broadcaster in its own right for the first time.

It now employs more just under 1,000 people - 50% of whom are journalists.

And it has bureaux in Washington, Moscow, Europe, Johannesburg, Jerusalem, Hong Kong and Beijing as well as Scotland, Ireland, Manchester, Southampton, Cardiff and Birmingham.

ITN also has a special bureau at Westminster for parliamentary coverage.

The challenge in September to its 46-year reign over ITV news was not something it took lightly, not least because the four-year contract provided some 45% of its revenue.

But its success against Channel 3 guaranteed its status as main provider of news for commercial broadcasters in the UK.

The BBC's Torin Douglas
"ITN is likely to have to cut its costs"
See also:

31 Jul 01 | Business
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13 Jun 01 | Business
ITV to seek bids from news providers
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sky battles ITN for news contract
25 Apr 01 | Business
Will ITV website capture the net?
30 Jul 00 | Business
BSkyB eyes ITV news deal
01 Aug 00 | UK
ITN joins all-news battle
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
BBC wins news battle
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
First month laurels to ITV
08 Mar 99 | Entertainment
ITV launches news at six-thirty
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