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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
ITV prepares to move news
Sir Trevor McDonald presents News at Ten
Sir Trevor McDonald presents News at Ten
The ITV News At Ten is to make a permanent move to a different time after admitting defeat in its battle of the bulletins with the BBC, a senior executive has revealed.

Steve Anderson, ITV's controller of news, said the channel accepted that "going head-to-head with the BBC is not a situation that can continue".

The favoured new time is 10.30pm on weekdays, he told trade journal Television, the magazine of the Royal Television Society.

An ITV spokeswoman said there were no immediate plans to approach the Independent Television Commission (ITC), who have to approve any change.

Mr Anderson said ITV's News At Ten was losing out on viewers because the BBC bulletin starts at exactly 10pm, but ITV waits for a commercial break to finish.

"People go for news rather than ads," he said.

Ratings battle

"10.30pm seems to be the option that ITV favours. But it's subject to negotiation with the ITC."

The move would not happen until winter at the earliest, ITV said.

The channel has been locked in a battle for viewers since the BBC moved its main evening bulletin to 10pm in October 2000.

The BBC claims to have come out on top, citing recent figures showing its bulletin was getting about 700,000 more viewers.

War move

But on some occasions - especially when popular programmes like I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here were on immediately beforehand - the ITV news attracted a larger audience.

ITV moved its news from 10pm to 11pm in March 1999, and the BBC moved in to fill the vacant slot.

But ITV was forced to switch back after the ITC found its replacement was attracting too few viewers.

ITV made a temporary move to 9pm during the war in Iraq, and has kept a short update at that time despite moving the main bulletin back to 10pm.

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