Suggestions in some forums that the possible move of Lorraine Kelly’s show to a new slot could cause licensing problems are wide of the mark.
The programme is reportedly moving to a new slot – running from 9am to 10am – in January. There is an important practical issue – it means the programme runs through 9.25am when STV legally takes over in Central and Northern Scotland. But there is an easy way round this.
ITV’s breakfast hours are still governed by a separate licence from Ofcom. It places some specific requirements on the 6am – 9.25am slot but it is not an island in the schedule.
In the old days TV-am and GMTV were essentially competing against the regional stations for ad revenue and were run as standalone operations. At 9.25am now, no significant technical changes take place – it’s simply a legal formality where STV regains “control” of Channel 3 in its area.
ITV Breakfast is played out from Chiswick in the normal way although the ad regions differ from normal – during the breakfast hours the bulk of advertising is shown nationally with some local advertising in large regional clusters.
The only challenge is how to ensure STV does not lose out from a programme crossing the 9.25am divide. In theory they might wish to show their own programme at 9.25am.
First, the advertising split will need to be maintained. At present, there is normally 5 minutes worth of advertising between 9am and 9.25am and a further 7 minutes between 9.25am and 10am. That is straightforward.
The other question is if part 3 of the programme could begin bang on 9.25am to ensure there’s no sudden change of DOG in the STV region and allow a clean break on any occasion when that is required.
These are important practical points to ensure the smaller partner in Channel 3 does not lose out. But the idea that the breakfast hours in ITV’s regions are still an island is a misunderstanding of the situation.
The licensing issue reflects the legacy and the fact ITV plc broadcasts across the whole network during those hours. Just as, until 2015, there was an anachronistic Wales and West licence – its end was a significant bit of tidying up but meant nothing in practice for staff or viewers on Wales and the West.
PICTURED: still from a recent edition of Lorraine. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.