ITV’s plan to extend the early evening news to one hour still begs many questions.
Some are exciting questions about just what the format of the programme will be. Equally exciting is the question of whether there will be any significant tweaks or changes to branding. It all seems to be carefully under wraps for now.
Then there is the question of corporate strategy. There has never been a regular one-hour news programme in peak time on one of the two big channels before.
Channel 4 News comfortably fills its slot with longer, analytical items and in-depth interviews. But it is also aimed at a small, selective audience.
Five News, shown out of peak, includes more conversational and magazine-style items. Again it is a niche programme for a small audience.
On the other hand, the ITV Evening News is a successful, mainstream programme designed for the channel’s core audience.
ITV News has always managed to produce succinct, to the point packages which hold the viewers’ attention. This is an art. Sometimes it is easier to produce a longer report with fewer hard decisions about what to leave out.
The notion of major editorial changes to the first half hour can be discounted – why change a winning formula? But we still don’t know how the extra time will be filled. We only have assurances it won’t be lightweight.
Simply running another half hour of two-minute packages and lives risks being boring or repetitive. So might there be a place, say, for individual longer films – original stories or background pieces?
Could it take up the role of, say, the Tonight programme or even the Martin Lewis Money Show? All will soon be revealed.
The other question is whether the programme will need two presenters again? And will there be changes to the set and graphics?
News at Ten has slightly modified graphics which still fit within the house style. After 9 years though, is it time to give all ITV News programmes a new look?
The 2013 graphics don’t seem dated but they have now been in use for a remarkable length of time. We know BBC News is getting a revamp shortly – will ITV get in first?
By the way, we still don’t know the date of the changes to ITV News. No doubt they’ll be announced soon and well promoted along with the new soap schedule.
Naturally the changes to the soap schedule will attract the most viewer interest. But the important changes to ITV News should not be eclipsed by this.
PICTURED: ITV News. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.