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The Independent Television Commission's (ITC's) Director of Programmes and Cable replies to comment in the Media section of `The Independent' on the move of ITV's `News at Ten' to a later slot
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THE PRIMARY purpose of my letter to Press Gazette about the ITC'S - Independent Television Commission's - attitude to the performance of the new ITV schedule since the 8 March is that we remain committed to a review after it has run a full 12 months - and should not, therefore, rush to judgement.

The Independent has taken me to task about public opinion on the original ITV proposals.

A more careful study of the ITC research into the public's attitudes towards moving the News At Ten - referred to in `The Word on The Street' [in yesterday's Tuesday Review], and published by the ITC - would have showed that when people were given the opportunity to consider the reasons for making the change, and the range of programming that would be offered, the majority were in favour of the move.

It was only when people were asked "cold" if they would like to see News At Ten rescheduled - without a chance to consider the reasons and possible benefits - that viewers said that they were not in favour.

It is true that the majority of respondents to the public consultation were against the move, by 82% to 18%.

However, this is not an unexpected result, given that those who did not object to a move would be less motivated to respond to a consultation.

In addition, the majority of respondents who were against the move gave no specific reason for their views.

As the ITC chairman, Sir Robin Biggam, pointed out at the time of the change: "Viewers express a strong attachment to [News At Ten], which is stronger than their propensity to view the programme regularly."