14/12/2005

Dedicated ITV News Channel axed

ITV has announced that following a "strategic review" it is to invest £2 million in its news programming but the axe has fallen on its 24-hour rolling ITV News Channel.

The company said that the decision came after a review of the network’s news services as part of an evaluation of the future requirements for ITV news up to 2010 and beyond.

After months of speculation on what would happen to the rolling news service - which was originally launched as the ITN News Channel in 2000 - doubts about the channel's future re-emerged last month when its slot on the Freeview service was cut back.

While the 24-hour rolling ITV News Channel is to be axed, the network broadcaster pledged an increased focus on developing new media solutions and a strengthening of ITV1’s news offering.

As a result of this review ITV will make significant additional investment to enable ITV to expand its national and international newsgathering operations.

The Director of Television for ITV, Simon Shaps, said: “The question we have asked ourselves is what does news look like in five or ten years’ time? The answer is that it looks very different from the traditional 24 hour rolling news format that we are used to now. Increasingly viewers will want news on demand via a variety of different platforms and we are investing in the technology and expertise to deliver that.”

“We also asked if we could better serve the needs of our viewers by increasing investment in our flagship shows and as a result we are strengthening our core network news gathering operation.”

Regional news will also be strengthened with the completion of the roll out of digital news rooms and continued investment in regional news.

ITV is also developing broadband and mobile on-demand services in recognition of the changing ways viewers will consume news in future.

The ITV News Channel, faced with fierce competition from BBC News 24, Sky News and other rolling news channels, had struggled to win viewers.

(SP)

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