ITV (television station)

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ITV plc

legal form Public Limited Company
ISIN GB0033986497
founding 1955
Seat London , UKUnited KingdomUnited Kingdom 
management Adam Crozier, Chief Executive Officer
Number of employees 4,559 (2014)
sales £ 2.590 billion (2014)
Branch media

ITV is a network of several (formerly) independent commercial TV channels in the UK . ITV plc, based in London, is listed in the FTSE 100 share index on the London Stock Exchange .



The ITV network in 1962

The BBC had held the television monopoly in Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the late 1940s , when it was broken by the Independent Television Act in 1954 after much political wrangling . The Independent Television Authority (ITA) was created, the first regulator of commercial television. After some deliberation, the ITA decided to set up a network of regional television stations that could operate independently of one another, but were still linked to one another in such a way that programs and films could run simultaneously in the entire network. Between 1955 and 1968 there was an additional separation between workdays and weekends in the three large regions (London, Midlands , North); that is, one broadcaster was given the right to broadcast Monday through Friday and another from Friday evening through Sunday. This separation was lifted in the North and Midlands in 1968, but still formally exists in the capital. With the creation of the ITA, the system of the BBC under its general director Hugh Charlton Greene was forced to reform.

On September 22, 1955, the London broadcaster Associated-Rediffusion aired the first television broadcast by a commercial station in the United Kingdom. In contrast to the BBC, television advertising was also part and form of financing of the program from the start.

The first channels of the new private television mostly came about when the big cinema operators decided to work with their biggest competitor. Pure television companies did not join in until the early 1960s .

In 1963 the network was completed; that is, each region had its own TV channel:

  • London Weekdays: Associated Rediffusion (a product of Associated Newspapers )
  • London, weekend: ATV London ( Associated TeleVision , prestige object of the media mogul Lew Grade )
  • Midlands, weekdays: ATV Midlands
  • Midlands Weekend: ABC Television (Property of ABC Cinema Group)
  • North, weekdays: Granada Television (Property of Granada Cinemas)
  • North, Weekend: ABC Television
  • Northern Ireland : Ulster Television
  • Scotland : STV
  • English / Scottish Border Area: Border Television
  • Northeast: Tyne Tees TeleVision
  • East: Anglia Television
  • South: Southern Television
  • Channel Islands : Channel Television
  • Wales and West: TWW (Television Wales and the West)
  • Welsh language television: Teledu Cymru (taken over by TWW after bankruptcy)
  • Southwest: Westward Television

In addition, there was the 'special case' ITN (Independent Television News): a news service provider that was jointly financed by all ITV broadcasters in order to supply the stations that were only responsible for regional news with nationally broadcast news.

In 1963 the licenses were put out to tender for the first time, but everything stayed the same; the first major quake did not take place until the next licensing round. The only minor change was that Associated Rediffusion became London with the withdrawal of Associated Newspapers .

The late 1960s

ITV developed into a great success after initial teething problems and was even able to outstrip the BBC in audience favor, which tried to combat this with the introduction of BBC 2, which only succeeded in the 1990s .

In 1967 the new licenses were put out to tender; this time with more significant effects than the 1963 tender. It was decided that the north would be subdivided again into northwest and Yorkshire / Lincolnshire . In doing so, Granada TV lost a large area but was given permission to broadcast for the whole week; the new area fell into the hands of Yorkshire Television . In the Midlands, ATV was allowed to broadcast all week - as an exchange against London on the weekend. As a result, ABC Television was now without a broadcasting area, but the ITA did not want to lose ABC and forced the company to merge with Rediffusion London, from which the station Thames Television emerged. In addition, a consortium around Lord Harlech took over the license of TWW , as it promised a higher quality program. There was Harlech Television . As morale and the share price plummeted due to the approaching end of TWW , TWW sold the last five months of its license to Harlech for £ 500,000. However, Harlech could not yet broadcast, so the Independent Television Service Wales and the West (ITSWW) was established through the ITA . Harlech received all of the profits from advertising and paid TWW a fixed amount per week for the provision of the programs. This intermediate phase lasted almost two and a half months. The license for London over the weekend that became vacant went to the Frost Consortium, headed by David Frost , from which London Weekend Television (LWT) emerged.

So the following changes came about:

  • Wales / West: TWW → Harlech Television (renamed HTV with the introduction of color television)
  • Yorkshire / Lincolnshire: Yorkshire Television
  • North-West, all week: Granada Television
  • Midlands All Week: ATV
  • London, weekdays: Rediffusion London → Thames Television
  • London weekend: ATV London → LTW London Weekend Television

The 1970s

The 1970s was arguably the most successful era in the history of the ITV network. ATV also produced internationally successful programs such as B. the Muppet Show, Crossroads, UFO or Die 2 (with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore ), Thames, LWT and Granada were also able to record various successes abroad. The 26-part documentary series Die Welt im Krieg , for example, was a great international success .

In the course of the 1970s, the old ITA was transformed into the IBA , the 'Independent Broadcasting Authority', which from now on was also responsible for private, local radio. The arrival of a second channel controlled by the IBA also became apparent, but this was only realized later. In the 1970s there was no new licensing.

The 1980s

Logo from 1989–1998
Logo from 1998-2006
Logo from 2006 to 2013
Logo from 2013 to 2018

In 1980 new licenses were issued. ITV suffered a major shock from the fact that ATV was forced to shrink and reshape because it was not sufficiently related to its region, according to the IBA. So ATV became Central Independent Television ; a product that met the requirements of the IBA, but could never again achieve the success of ATV.

In addition, two long-established broadcasters lost their licenses to modern newcomers, namely Westward to TSW (Television South West) and Southern to TVS (Television South). In addition, there was a nationwide provider of breakfast television, tv-am ; In addition, the second IBA channel became a reality, in the form of Channel 4 .

So the following changes occurred (from January 1, 1982):

  • Southern Television → TVS
  • Westward Television → TSW (TSW bought the bankrupt broadcaster Westward and used its studios and received most of the staff.)

Things were still pretty successful for ITV in the 1980s, but Thames Television's Death on the Rock , a documentary about the shooting of three IRA members by the Special Air Service in the late 1980s, broke the ground ITV's decline initiated. Thatcher pulled out all the stops to get rid of Thames Television, which resulted in the Broadcasting Act '90 .

The 1990s

In 1990 the licenses were reassigned again. For the last time, it seems, because the Broadcasting Act of 1990 only provided for a license to be reassigned if the broadcaster in question refused to renew it or if the broadcaster went bankrupt. The rules for obtaining licenses have also been changed. While quality of the studios including planned in-house productions as well as a reasonable budget for the license were previously required, the broadcaster that was willing to pay the most money for the license was now awarded the contract. It was also allowed from now on that a transmitter could have several licenses.

Thames Television was added to Carlton Communications and TSW was taken over by Westcountry . However, TVS had to cease operations because the company was close to bankruptcy and had made a bid for the license that was far too high for their circumstances. Tv-am also disappeared in favor of GMTV (Good Morning Television).

The innovations from January 1st, 1993:

  • TSW → Westcountry Television
  • TVS → Meridian Broadcasting
  • TV-am → Good Morning Television (GMTV)
  • Thames Television → Carlton Communications
  • In addition, ORACLE lost the right to host teletext across the entire network, a service that the company had been providing since the late 1970s. Since January 1, 1993, each broadcaster has been responsible for its own teletext.

Only a short time later, the process of concentration began. Yorkshire Television swallowed competitor Tyne Tees Television first. This quickly ruined Yorkshire Television and both were taken over by Granada Television, while Carlton Television acquired Westcountry and Central and renamed them Carlton. By 1999, Granada again took over LWT, HTV, Border and Meridian. Scottish Television took over Grampian Television to form the Scottish Media Group SMG .

Only UTV (previously Ulster-Television, the name change also took place on January 1, 1992) and Channel Television remained independent; Both still have this status today.


In 2004 Carlton and Granada merged to form ITV plc . With the exception of Channel Television, UTV, GMTV and the two SMG broadcasters, ITV is now formally only one broadcaster. The regionality, the great strength of the ITV network, has finally disappeared, except for the regional news (which by the way also looks the same everywhere). An ITV license used to be considered "a permit to print money". Today's ITV has been falling in favor of viewers for years - in favor of its rivals in the commercial sector: Channel 5 , Channel 4 and above all Sky .

ITV broadcasts its offshoots ITV2 , ITV3 and ITV4 via the BSkyB satellite system and DVB-T for free reception. The long delayed broadcast via satellite has caused the station to lose some ground.

As of 1999, the news that previously ran under the name of the supplier ITN ( Independent Television News ) ( ITN Early Evening News , ITN News At Ten ) was standardized: With the ITV Evening News , a main news program based on the American model was created. However, the simultaneous abolition of News At Ten in favor of a later news program caused protests, and the late edition was moved forward again. From February 2012 the ITV programs were freely receivable via Astra 1N , which was temporarily positioned at the orbit position 28.2 ° East and was replaced by the Astra 2D successor Astra 2E in January 2014 . In order to comply with transmission rights and licenses for programs, ITV is broadcast by 2E in the so-called UK spot beam, focused on the British Isles. As a result, the reception situation in eastern Germany has deteriorated considerably since 2014. On the Internet, ITV can be received from IP addresses in the UK.

In October 2010, ITV came into the spotlight when a documentary entitled Gaddafi and the IRA referred to “secret archive material” which turned out to be excerpts from the computer game ArmA 2 .

The ITV Encore offshoot has been on the air since June 2014 .

In addition, the offshoot ITV Be has been on the air since October 2014 .

Company and organization

ITV is organized as a public limited company under UK law (plc) and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. ITV plc. is among the largest companies in the UK .

The most important subsidiary is the production company ITV Studios (formerly: Granada Productions), which produces essential parts of the program. The production company ITV Studios Germany was created by renaming the previous German subsidiary Granada Produktion (since 1999). ITV is a partner of the National Film and Television School and a member of the United Kingdom Independent Broadcasting .




Web links

Commons : ITV  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Key figures from ITV. In: Frankfurt Stock Exchange. December 31, 2014, accessed April 20, 2015 .
  2. Documentation confuses computer game with reality from September 29, 2011
  3. Documentary confuses gameplay with real recordings from September 28, 2011