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This article is about the news provider in the United Kingdom. For the channel in Sri Lanka, see Independent Television Network. For the news programme with ITV, see ITV News. For other uses, see ITN (disambiguation).
ITN (Independent Television News)
Genre News
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served
Owner ITV plc (40%),
DMGT (20%),
Thomson Reuters (20%),
UBM plc (20%)
Divisions ITN News
ITN Productions
ITN Source
ITN Consulting

ITN (Independent Television News) is a British-based news and content provider. It is made up of three divisions: ITN News, ITN Source and ITN Productions. ITN is based in London, with bureaux and offices in Beijing, Brussels, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, New York, Paris, Sydney and Washington DC.

ITN produces content for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, UK mobile phone operators, online outlets such as YouTube, MSN, Telegraph Media Group, Yahoo!, and film producers and researchers worldwide.

ITN (between 1955 and 1999) was more commonly known as the general brand name of ITV's news programmes. Since 1999, ITN is no longer used as the brand name; however, the company still produces all ITV News programmes.


ITN was founded in January 1955 by the Independent Television Authority, as part of the new British commercial television network referred to as "Independent Television" (later ITV).

It began as a consortium of the initial ITV broadcasting companies, with former Labour MP Aidan Crawley as editor-in-chief. One of those companies, the London weekday contract-holder Associated-Rediffusion offered the new company studio space in its headquarters in Aldwych, London. The first ITN bulletin was presented by champion athlete Christopher Chataway. Geoffrey Cox joined as News Editor in 1956 after Crawley resigned, and he hired interviewers such as Robin Day. As ITV expanded, each ITV company that made up the network's federal structure had to purchase a stake in ITN and to continue to finance the company.

ITN has provided the main national news bulletins for ITV since 1955. News was always branded as ITN until 1999 when the Carlton and Granada partnership which were important stakeholders renamed it simply as ITV News. From this point, the ITN brand was gradually phased out and it now only referenced to in the end production caption. Even though national coverage is produced by ITN, it has no role in the regional coverage provided for each individual ITV region's newsroom with the exception of ITV London, which it has run since March 2004 following its acquisition of the London News Network, a company previously owned by the now merged Carlton and Granada. With the launch of Britain's second commercial station Channel 4 in 1982, ITN was given the job of providing Channel 4 News.

Until the 1990s, ITN had a guaranteed right and obligation to provide news for ITV and Channel 4. Since the Broadcasting Act 1990, ITN has had to apply and bid for a licence to provide such services on these networks and would have to fight competition in order to preserve its services, as had become the case with other ITV franchisees. In August 2000, the organisation launched its own 24-hour news channel in the UK, broadcast on satellite, cable and digital terrestrial. It was 50% owned by ITN and 50% owned by NTL. Carlton and Granada gradually bought out the two stakes and renamed the channel the ITV News Channel.

The biggest challenge came in 2001 when British Sky Broadcasting bid to supply network news to ITV as part of a consortium. ITN eventually succeeded and was awarded a contract extension to 2008. In January 2005 Sky News took over supplying bulletins to Channel 5; ITN had produced 5 News since its launch in 1997 and the contract was returned in February 2012, following a change of ownership at Channel 5. Also in 2005, ITN started producing The Queen's speech to the Commonwealth at Christmas once every two years, so that, for the first time since the inception of Independent Television in 1955, ITN produced a programme for its rival the BBC.

Between 1996 and 2002, it also owned a share of London News Radio, which was based at ITN's Gray's Inn Road headquarters and operated the LBC and News Direct London radio stations. ITN used to operate a radio news service on behalf of Independent Radio News (IRN) but on 15 October 2008, IRN announced that Sky News Radio was to replace ITN as its main supplier from March 2009.

The ITV News Channel closed down on 23 December 2005. Poor ratings in comparison to BBC News 24 and Sky News, and ITV's desire to re-use the channel's allocation on Freeview, were cited as the reasons.[1]

John Hardie is the Chief Executive Officer of ITN, a position he took up in June 2009. Prior to this, he was Executive VP and MD of Walt Disney Television EMEA.[citation needed]


File:ITN OB Van.jpg
An ITN satellite van

ITN produced programmes schedule

Programme Channel Days Start Time End Time
ITV News at 1:30 ITV, STV, UTV Weekdays 13:30 13:55
ITV News at 6:30 Weekdays 18:30 19:00
ITV News at Ten Weekdays 22:00 22:30
ITV News Weekends Various
ITV News Headlines Weekdays
Channel 4 News Channel 4 Weekdays 19:00 19:55
Channel 4 News Weekends Various
Channel 4 News Summary Weekdays 12:00 12:05
5 News at 5 Channel 5 Weekdays 17:00 17:30
5 News Tonight Weekdays 18:30 19:00
5 News at Lunchtime Weekdays 12:10 12:15
5 News Weekend Weekends Various
5 News at 19:58 Weekdays 19:58 20:00
5 News at 20:58 Weekdays 20:58 21:00

ITN News

Main article: ITV News


ITN's first bulletin aired on 22 September 1955, the day commercial television was born in the UK.

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 has seen the network and ITN accused of dumbing down its style), which saw the axing of the long-running and award winning World in Action current affairs and investigative journalism news programme in 1998.

ITN's most famous news programme, News at Ten was also controversially replaced by an 11pm news bulletin in 1999, said to be in order to allow ITV to broadcast films without the interruption of a 10 o'clock news bulletin. News at Ten was subsequently re-instated in 2001 after heavy public criticism over the change. The restored programme was 10 minutes shorter than its predecessor and carried less in-depth news coverage. It was also broadcast at a later time at least 1 day a week, which meant it was often referred to as News at When?.

Since March 1999, 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. The ITN name is now only seen at the end of bulletins.

There was increasing speculation that the News at Ten would again be moved, after under-performing against the Ten O'Clock News on BBC One which broadcasts every day at 10:00pm. In October 2003, the Independent Television Commission gave ITV approval to move News at Ten.

The ITV News at 10.30 launched on ITV on 2 February 2004 (the day that ITV in England, Wales and Southern Scotland came under the ownership of a single company) and was presented by Sir Trevor McDonald. The programme was longer than its predecessor and carried an integrated regional bulletin, as well as more business stories, a nightly sports update and a preview of the following day's newspapers. Mark Austin took over main presenting duties on 16 January 2006.

The rebranded programme again saw new titles, this time featuring people walking over the face of Big Ben and has lately followed a more "sensationalist" approach to its main headlines. When ITV Executive Chairman Michael Grade joined ITV, he made it clear that he saw news as the key in defining any channel. On 14 January 2008, the News at Ten returned, presented by Sir Trevor McDonald and Julie Etchingham.

In March 2004, ITN took over production of ITV London's regional news programmes, which relocated from The London Television Centre on the South Bank to ITN's Gray's Inn Road base.

Channel 4 News

Main article: Channel 4 News

ITN is also home to Channel 4 News, producing the programme since the channel's inception in 1982.

Channel 4 News flagship programme is 55 minutes of in-depth news and current affairs broadcast at 7pm each weekday and at 6.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The weekday evening programme is anchored by Jon Snow, whereas Krishnan Guru-Murthy presents the weekend bulletins.

A five-minute long news summary goes out Monday to Friday at midday. The bulletin replaced Channel 4's defunct half hour News at Noon programme in late 2009, six years after its launch during the Iraq War of 2003.

ITN created More4 News when the digital channel was launched in October 2005. It was originally presented by Sarah Smith; Kylie Morris took over presenting duties in June 2007 and Smith was posted to the US as Channel 4 News' Washington correspondent.

In December 2009 Channel 4 also axed More4 News, which originally aired weekdays at 8pm on its sister channel More4.[2]

5 News

Main article: 5 News

From the launch of Channel 5 in 1997, ITN provided the news bulletins for 5 News. However in January 2005, ITN lost the contract, which was awarded to Sky News. In 2011 ITN regained the contract in a three-year deal to provide news for Channel 5 from early 2012, but on a much reduced budget. The deal followed an agreement by Sky and Northern & Shell, which owns Channel 5, to terminate the 5 News contract early.


ITN began its own World News bulletins in the late 1980s, which were shown around the world on local television channels, particularly on PBS stations in the US, where presenter Daljit Dhaliwal (now with Al-Jazeera English) enjoyed cult status.

These were discontinued in 2001, in the face of competition from dedicated news channels such as BBC World (now known as BBC World News), although it still provides footage to CNN International and reports often appear on PBS NewsHour. Its ITV Evening News bulletin was shown on the Newsworld International cable channel in the US.

Other ventures

ITN launched its 24-hour news channel in 2000, which was jointly bought by the main ITV companies Carlton and Granada in 2002 and rebranded as the ITV News Channel. It was closed down in 2005.

Setanta Sports News was a 24-hour sports news television channel produced by ITN and jointly owned by Virgin Media Television and Setanta Sports, launched on 29 November 2007. The channel ceased broadcasting on 23 June 2009, when Setanta's UK operation were placed into administration, following financial difficulties.

ITN Consulting was the management consultancy arm of ITN, combining the resources of ITN with the consulting team’s experience to advise global media companies on issues spanning all areas of strategy and operations, including financial planning, marketing, scheduling and content, recruitment, and interim management. With partner, Venture Consulting, it had offices in London, Milan, Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. It operated as a network with its consultants working on engagements globally and focused "on how strategy can be implemented to deliver to real change". ITN Consulting stated that "an understanding of how global, regional and local media markets conflict and come together enables them to identify the opportunities this creates". They took an external, outsider perspective as well as having the viewpoint of senior "insider" media executives. ITN Consulting was extensively involved in the development of business plans for local TV in the UK.[3] It also consulted a range of national broadcasters on improving performance. The unit closed in 2012.

ITN Source

ITN Source (formerly ITN Archive) licenses video footage from ITN's one million hours of archive content including news, drama, celebrity, comedy, music, wildlife, natural history and film. It also syndicates on-the-day news footage generated by ITN to other broadcasters and producers worldwide. The company represents the moving image libraries of Reuters, ITV (including ITV Studios), ANI, UTV, Fox News, Fox Movietone, Nine Network and other specialist collections. Its headquarters are in London and it has sales offices in New York, Toronto, Paris, Johannesburg, Sydney and Tokyo.

In 2005, ITN became a shareholder in Espresso Group, a provider of digital content to more than 60% of primary schools in the UK and also internationally. Espresso services feature an extensive library of broadband teaching resources and student activities to motivate pupils and support teachers, including content from ITN Source. In May 2008, the Education Clip Library a unique, video licensing service for educational publishers and broadcasters around the world, was launched. It is aimed at educational publishers and broadcasters seeking to add video to their instructional products and services. Espresso was acquired by Discovery Education (part of Discovery Communications) on 7 November 2013.[4]

In October 2008, ITN Source announced the creation of Diagonal View a joint venture with Matt Heiman, a digital entrepreneur. The company packages content from ITN Source’s archive and syndicates it to a range of commercial partners including MySpace, YouTube and MSN.

ITN Productions

ITN Productions was formed in February 2010 and incorporates the non-news operations of ITN, including the former ITN On, ITN Factual and ITN Corporate divisions.[5]

ITN was the one of the first companies to provide news content for 3G mobile phones, when it struck a deal to provide daily news bulletins for the 3 network in 2003.

It has since expanded its video news service providing news, sport and showbiz content to a wide range of broadcasters, newspapers and websites.

Clients include:
NEWSPAPERS: Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent.
WEBSITES: MSN, Yahoo, AOL, YouTube and Daily Motion.

Showbiz bulletins from ITN are broadcast daily on a number of television channels, including FYI Daily on ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4, The Fix on 4Music and 5* Access on 5*. A daily showbiz breakfast show, The Breakfast Fix, is broadcast on 4Music.

From August 2013, ITN Productions was awarded the contract to produce the Premier League online and mobile highlights service for News UK. Content appears on The Sun and The Times subscription websites and mobile apps.

Digital content is supplied to sports news video agency SNTV.

ITN Productions also creates factual programming for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 as well as international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel, History Channel, PBS and National Geographic Channel.

This also includes BSKYB with one if its later programmes being Harrow: A Very British School.

ITN also supplied programming to the now-closed Teachers' TV service.


From its inception in 1955, ITN was originally owned jointly by all the ITV operating companies, the shares split roughly in proportion to each company's advertising income. However the 1990 Broadcasting Act limited the ITV companies to a maximum joint 49% stake, with no single company allowed more than a 20% holding. These requirements were abolished by the Communications Act 2003.

As of 2012, ITN is owned by ITV plc (40%), Daily Mail and General Trust (20%), Thomson Reuters (20%) and UBM plc (20%). ITV plc's shareholding forms part of the wider ITV News Group, incorporating their regional operations in England and Wales, plus ITV Sport. The Director of the ITV News Group is Michael Jermey, a former editor and executive at ITN.

ITV's ownership of 40% of ITN (at that time equally split between Carlton and Granada) made the 2001 bid from Sky for ITV bulletins unlikely to succeed, the network having a vested interest to see ITN continue. The ITN contract for ITV News expires at the end of 2012. On 2 April 2007 ITN signed a deal which superseded the existing contract, worth at least £42m per year. ITV, which owns 40% of ITN, is investing more than £15m to upgrade ITN's newsroom as part of the deal.


ITN has been spoofed several times on ITV's The Benny Hill Show, namely in one 1971 show with the logo reading "NIT" instead of "ITN" and with Benny Hill as Reginald Boozenquet and Andrew Gardner.

ITN was also spoofed in 1978 in the Leprechaun Independent Television sketch with Benny as Angela O'Rippon, a parody of Angela Rippon, and again with Benny as Ann Afford, a parody of Anna Ford. It was also spoofed in a black and white 1971 show and a 1973 episode.

See also


  1. ^ Conlan, Tara (14 December 2005). "ITV News Channel axed". MediaGuardian (web only) (London). Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  2. ^ Deans, Jason (5 August 2009). "Channel 4 to axe News at Noon and More4 News". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "ITN Consulting: Local TV". 
  4. ^ "Discovery Communications announces acquisition of Espresso Education, the leading provider of primary school digital education content in the U.K". Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Jennifer Whitehead (25 February 2010). "Wheeler steps down as ITN On MD following divisions merger". New Media Age. 

External links