BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: Entertainment: TV and Radio
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Watchdog calls for ITV shake-up
Jennifer James as Geena in Coronation Street
ITV giant Granada makes Coronation Street
The Independent Television Commission (ITC) is calling on the government to create legislation which could pave the way for a merger between broadcasters Carlton and Granada.

It wants new legislation to be introduced to combat a downturn in advertising revenue.

In his speech to an ITC dinner in Edinburgh on Wednesday, chairman Sir Robin Biggam said action was needed sooner rather than later.

His address is being seen by broadcast media as an indication that the ITC wants Carlton and Granada - ITV's two largest shareholders - to be able to form one company.

He said the proposed moves to relax the rules on media ownership and the setting up of the super-regulator Ofcom, scheduled to take effect in 2003, was not soon enough.

One company

He said interim legislation was needed to enable commercial TV to compete with the BBC in what he called "tough times".

"As a regulator, our hands are tied," Sir Robin said.

"We are governed by the current legislation, which, in key areas such as media ownership, is hopelessly outdated at a time when flexibility is required to meet the changes in the market and the technology."

ITC
The ITC is an independent body

The website of the industry magazine Broadcast, Produxion.com, reports that Carlton and Granada are facing a cash crisis due to a drop in advertising revenue and that closer collaboration could mean significant cost savings.

Carlton and Granada own most of the companies which run the 15 regional licenses of ITV.

Sir Robin said the BBC was still well served as the primary public sector provider.

'Steep decline'

"But the commercial sector - which also has public service obligations - is not in a position to compete," he added.

The economic climate had changed as it affected commercial TV companies, he said.

Advertising revenues had collapsed and forecasts for the take-up of broadband and interactive technology were in "steep decline", he added.

Sir Robin said the economic downturn was also putting ITV's regional services under pressure.

But he said if "flexibility" was given, a better service could be provided for the nations and regions in the UK.

"The key components of a new settlement with ITV will be their continuing investment in the delivery of services in the nations and regions, back-up by local governance and accountability and the support for a vibrant production sector out of London."

The Independent Television Commission acts as a watchdog for commercial TV in the UK by regulating and licensing it.

See also:

30 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Keeping tabs on TV
30 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
What does the ITC do?
27 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
LWT fined 100,000
30 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Channel 4 satire row escalates
24 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
More children have TV 'in bedrooms'
15 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
TV gay wedding complaints rejected
11 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Channel 5 news move thwarted
26 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
ITV under fire from watchdog
24 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Campaigners urge TV turn-off
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more TV and Radio stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more TV and Radio stories