ITV Deserve to Go Down the Pan

So they’re moaning at their advertisers. As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to lose their revenue, just as they’ve lost their ratings. ITV plc has no interest in the viewer.

It’s Thatcher’s fault. It was one of the last acts of her administration to sow the seeds of destruction for the original ITV network.

I remember when the 1990 Broadcasting Act meant we no longer got TV listings in our free paper (they’d been copyrighted so a huge fee could be charged, which the weekly advertising rag couldn’t afford). I was reminded of this when BDS (bastards) shut down the excellent listings service provided free as a service by Andrew Flegg. The service is widely used by interactive websites and various amateur and commercial PVR hardware and software solutions. It’s important because the listings providers are lagging behind the technology and have failed to come up with a standard for driving this forward; the open source community stepped in with XMLTV and Andrew Flegg provides an incredibly flexible delivery service for this. Actually, the greedy BDS were only able to shut down the ITV listings on Flegg’s site, as the BBC (a public service broadcaster!) has actively been promoting listings distribution through backstage. ITV have refused to allow its listings to be distributed through Flegg’s

Who does this hurt? The viewer.

But I don’t care. I can still get all the other channels through, so I’m not going to go elsewhere for my ITV listings, as I hardly watched ITV at all. Sometimes I’d see a film or something I fancied watching on ITV, and now I won’t. ITV loses: I don’t watch their adverts even sometimes anymore. ITV closed down the listings because ITV plc sees itself as a money making enterprise first, broadcaster second, hence its whinging about advertisers. It shoots itself in the foot. It’s the attitude that’s seen viewers turning off, and the reason I so rarely watch anymore: it is such a piss poor broadcaster. From the 60s to the 90s ITV produced and broadcast shows that were both popular and good (The Avengers, Spitting Image, even The Bill) and now it produces shows that aren’t even very popular any more, and are definitely crap.

And the rot all set in with The Broadcasting Act 1990, as we saw most of the franchise holding companies swallowed up by ITV plc. They shrugged off the advertising cap that favoured Channel 4 to allow them to make more money and gradually turned Channel 3 into the kind of network whose most prized shows are the likes of Millionaire and I’m a Celebrity…. It’s been a gradual process, so it’s barely been noticable, and the fuss over the 1990 Act died down long ago. But it has come to pass that this country’s first and oldest commercial network is in terminal decline, and if they disappear into insignificance in 2012 in the multi channel post-analogue era no-one but the shareholders will mourn the demise of the culprits at ITV plc.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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