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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK
The significance of ITN's news deal
ITN also provides at 24-hour news channel
ITN's retention of its ITV news licence will not only delight those who work at the company - it will also will provide continuity for the millions of viewers who watch its daily bulletins.

And viewers will no doubt be pleased that the familiar sight of Sir Trevor McDonald anchoring News at Ten will not be disrupted.

Sir Trevor, who has twice been voted the nation's most popular broadcaster, has been a regular fixture on our screens for the last 28 years.

This continuity could prove important in the coming weeks, as ITN covers the growing tensions following the attacks on New York and Washington.

Dermot Murnaghan and Trevor McDonald
Familiar faces: Dermot Murnaghan and Trevor McDonald
Its coverage has won plaudits, and as the weeks progress its experienced broadcasters will be tested to the full.

It is also important for viewers to be able to watch newscasters they know and trust.

The lucrative four-year contract, which provides some 45% of the company's 100m turnover, will also help ITN retain its big names such as Sir Trevor and Dermot Murnaghan.

However it is expected that ITN will have to cut costs, although details of both bids will remain confidential until final terms have been agreed.

ITN has promised it would provide "value for money", and it will hope viewers will not notice any difference when the new contract starts in 2003.

News provider

Editor of ITV News, Nigel Dacre, said the focus would be developing the service and strengthening its position in the battle with the BBC.

Both broadcasters run their main nightly bulletin at 10pm, although ITN's coverage is 10 minutes shorter, and runs three nights per week at that time.

But ITN still provides an important alternative to the BBC's News, fulfilling a key part of ITV's remit as a broadcaster to provide independent, reliable news.

ITN also employs more than 1,000 people, half of whom are journalists, and losing its main contract would have put its future in doubt.

It provides news for two of London's radio stations and the nationwide Independent Radio News network, as well as offering news on the internet.

Overhaul

And it produces the daily programme World News for Public Television, which reaches half of all US households.

If rival bidders Channel 3 News had won the contract, it would have meant a complete overhaul of ITV's news programmes and the staff who made them.

Channel 3 News would have been likely to involve the teams who make Sky News and Bloomberg's 24-hour news channels, as well as American network CBS, who were all involved in the bid.

There had been fears that it would be dominated by Sky and its biggest shareholder Rupert Murdoch.

See also:

26 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
ITN keeps ITV news
31 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
ITN's global expansion
31 Jul 01 | Business
Bidding closes for ITV news
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sky battles ITN for news contract
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