ITV Regional Television Investment in the North West is also poor.

11th February 2018

In my previous post I explained that the BBC invests less in regional news out-put and in BBC Local Radio (which often sources the stories later covered in the BBC Regional Bulletins) in the North West than the national average in terms of spend per head of population.

We now look at ITV in the North West, the output coming from Granada for seven million people. ITV spends just north of £50 million on Regional Television output per annum across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, southern Scotland, the Isle of Man – and the Channel Islands. This is an area with a population of 61 million people and there are twelve ITV Regions. Six of these ITV Regions have opt-outs that split output for different parts of the ITV Region; Border Television, which serves much of Cumbria, has an English programme broadcast to Cumbria and a Scottish version broadcast to the Scottish Borders and Dumfriesshire and Galloway along with a small part of Ayrshire in SW Scotland.

Effectively there are 15 ITV Regions (the opt-outs in the six split regions do amalgamate some of the time). So we have £50 million spent by ITV on 61 million people, which equates to a spend of 82.0 pence per person in England, Wales, Northern Ireland ,Southern Scotland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

We now draw our attention to the ITV Granada Region, which is received in all of North West England except most of Cumbria; ITV Granada is also received in the Isle of Man and the High Peak Borough of Derbyshire and northernmost Staffordshire. The population of the transmission area is 7.0 million. Granada Reports has no opt-outs, everywhere in the transmission area gets the same programming.

The spend per person in Granada’s transmission area is the £50 million spent by ITV specifically on Regional News Programming divided by 15 (the effective number of ITV Regions catered for) and divided again by the Granada area population: This comes to an ITV spend per person on Regional Television for the vast bulk of the North West being 47.6 pence per head. This is 34.4 pence less than ITV national average for spend per person: If ITV brought it’s spending on Regional Television up to the national average this would raise an extra £2.4 million per annum, enough to provide an opt-out for northern Lancashire and South Cumbria, utilising ITV Granada’s old Lancaster base perhaps?

Most of Cumbria is in the ITV Border Region and, given ITV Border’s opt-out for southern Scotland the ITV Border Region doubles up as one region and a half. However, the amalgamation of ITV Border with ITV Tyne Tees means some of the weekend output comes from the North East, even though thanks to Ofcom’s intervention ITV Border provides coverage exclusive to the ITV Border Region in Lookaround on weekdays. Thus, we can realistically cut the region dedicated to Cumbria to half a region, in effect: Cumbria has almost exclusive claim to the English half of ITV Border – the Isle of Man having been transferred to the Granada Region. The part of Cumbria that receives Border Television has a population of 400,000 so the calculations comes to 0.5/15 times 50000000 divided by the Border TV population of Cumbria of about 400000 people. This comes to an ITV spend per person on Regional News Programming in most of Cumbria at £4 and 16.7 pence: This is a much better settlement, with Cumbrian viewers of Border Television enjoying almost nine times the spend per capita on Regional News than viewers get in the very south of Cumbria and in neighbouring Lancashire -and it shows. Most Cumbrian viewers are relatively happy with the coverage they get on ITV Border’s Lookaround, though it is a bit annoying for them to get weekend news about the North East of England. However, viewers in the south of Cumbria and in Lancashire get little coverage on ITV Granada.

The area of Britain with by far the best settlement for regional television is the Channel Islands. There are just 166,083 people living on these small islands close to the French Coast and they have an ITV Region all to themselves – called ITV Channel. The ITV’s spend per person on the Channel Islands is 1/15 times 50000000 divided by the 166,083 people living there. This comes to a spend per person of £20 and seven pence per person. Viewers in the North West of England can only dream of that amount spent per person on Regional Television Programming!

ITV. Plc do not spend their resources for Regional Television fairly across the country. The more northerly rural areas of Lancashire and South Cumbria again suffer for it.

@granadatv  #northwestengland #RegionalTelevision #NorthWest #granadareports @bordertv #NorthLancs #SCumbria #SouthCumbria

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