Highs and lows of ITV

An ITV franchise was once famously described as a "licence to print money" - but not any more, judging on the gloomy news from the company today.

ITV's announcement that it is axing 600 jobs comes as it battles to survive the worst advertising downturn in a generation, stiff competition from other networks and an expensive schedule of programming.



Media commentators have said that, behind the apparent business-as-usual of ITV1 dramas such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and The Bill, managers are struggling to cope with their current difficulties.



A number of cost-cutting measures have been implemented, including the reported axing of Wire In The Blood and the costly period drama A Passage To India.



The production of Heartbeat has been halted and expensive stars, such as Ant and Dec and Simon Cowell, have been warned that future golden handcuffs deals may have to be cut back when their contracts come up for negotiation, it has been reported.



ITV is also said to be examining the option of renegotiating its contract with the Football Association, a £425m deal shared with cable channel Setanta, for live FA Cup and England internationals.



ITV has not withheld any payments but was seeking to "spread the payments", it was reported.



The company's difficulties have been made worse by a cash crisis, according to a report in the Guardian, with a £250m bond due to be repaid this month and a €500m bond due by 2011.



The company is also said to be struggling with a large pension deficit.



The current difficulties contrast sharply with the optimism of the opening night of ITV on 22 September 1955 when London broadcaster Associated-Rediffusion launched its first night of programming.



The first show was an opening ceremony from London's Guildhall, with the first advertisement for SR toothpaste.



After the first night, ITV gradually rolled out across the country, with names such as Granada and ABC joining the network.



The opening night signalled the end of the BBC monopoly on broadcasting.



Critics at the time said they feared ITV could be a vulgar influence on British life. Even Sir Winston Churchill feared it would be a "peep-show".



Over more than 50 years of its history, ITV has succeeded in infuriating the then government of Margaret Thatcher - over the Thames Television broadcast in 1988 of Death On The Rock about the shooting of three unarmed IRA terrorists in Gibraltar.



It has also been home to a series of landmark and acclaimed programmes including Granada's Jewel In The Crown, Brideshead Revisited and Cracker as well as the well-regarded current affairs series World In Action.



Lows in the history of ITV include a £5.67m fine from Ofcom last year for abusing premium-rate phone services in viewer competitions and the 2002 decision by Granada and Carlton to pull out of ITV Digital, formerly OnDigital, having lost at least £1.2bn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most