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Independent Television News (ITN)

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ITN logo, 1970s-90s

Independent Television News (ITN) the main supplier of news broadcasts to three British broadcasting networks, ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

ITN was founded in 1955 as part of the British commercial TV network ITV. It has provided the main national news bulletins for the ITV network since that date, though it has no role in the regional coverage provided for each individual station within ITV, which comes from each station's own newsroom. With the expansion of TV channels in the United Kingdom, it also now provides national bulletins for Channel 4 and Five. In August 2000, the organisation launched it's own 24 hour news channel which is broadcast on satellite, cable and digital terrestrial.

In the 1990s, under new ownership, it was accused of abandoning its previous news style, which was broadsheet in style, to mid-market tabloid, with news stories that focused on personalities in the news rather than heavy news coverage. The change in style matched changes in the nature of news coverage on the ITV network, which saw the axing of the long-running and award winning World in Action[?] current affairs and investigative journalism news programme. ITN's most famous news programme, News at Ten[?] was also controversially axed by ITV to allow it to broadcast films without the interruption of a 10 o'clock news bulletin. It was subsequently re-instated after criticism of the replacement 11pm bulletin, but has again been axed in favour of a 10.30pm bulletin. The restored News at Ten, prior to its second scrapping, was ten minutes shorter than its predecessor and carried less in depth news coverage. The name ITN and its logo no longer features in the opening credits of the organisation's bulletins, with the term ITV News assuming prominence instead.

Similarly, ITN's 24-hour news channel (launched some distance behind the wake of Sky News and BBC News 24) was subsequently renamed and re-branded as the ITV News Channel. This has had one economic advantage: the News Channel can simulcast ITV1 news bulletins because the graphics are identical, thereby saving on studio space and manpower.

Notwithstanding its controversial change in approach to news coverage, ITN bulletins on ITV still attracts more viewers than rival bulletins (the Six O'Clock News and the Ten O'Clock News (formerly the 9 O'Clock News) on the BBC, an anomaly given that in most areas, from sports coverage to coverage of live news events, where both stations go 'head to head' (eg, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's funeral, the World Cup final, September 11, etc.) the BBC normally gets double the audience of ITV.

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