ITV1 (formerly known as ITV) is a British free-to-air public broadcast television channel[b] owned and operated by the British media company ITV plc. It provides the Channel 3 public broadcast service across all of the United Kingdom except for the central and northern areas of Scotland where STV provides the service.
|Picture format||1080i/1080p HDTV[a]|
(downscaled to 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Timeshift service||ITV1 +1|
|Parent||ITV Broadcasting Limited|
|Launched||28 October 2002(unified ITV1 branding)|
|Former names||ITV (1955–2001, 2013–2022)|
|ITVX||Watch live (ITV London, UK only)|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK only)|
|Virgin TV Go||Watch live (ITV London, ITV regions only)|
ITV1 as a consistent national channel (with dedicated slots for regional news and other regional programmes) evolved out of the old ITV network – a federation of separately owned regional companies which had significantly different local schedules and branding. During the 1990s, the differences between the schedules in each region gradually reduced – partly through the consolidation of ownership and partly through the standardisation in the volume and scheduling of regional programmes.
In 2002, a major change of appearance occurred when all ITV regions in England and Wales adopted national continuity. Regional logos vanished and regional names were mentioned only before regional programmes. Effectively this left ITV1 in England and Wales looking like a national channel with slots for regional opt-outs – like BBC One or France 3 – rather than a group of independent regional broadcasters sharing programmes.
The unification was consolidated in 2004 when Granada plc acquired Carlton Communications to form ITV plc. By then, the two companies had acquired all the regional Channel 3 companies in England and Wales. ITV plc later acquired Channel Television in the Channel Islands and UTV in Northern Ireland.
ITV1 is today the biggest and most popular commercial television channel in the United Kingdom. ITV1, and its predecessor regional channels, have contended with BBC One for the status of the UK's most watched television channel since the 1950s. However, in line with other terrestrial channels, ITV1's audience share has fallen as a result of availability of multi-channel television in the UK.
Following the creation of the Television Act 1954, the establishment of a commercial television service in the UK began.
The Independent Television service, later abbreviated to "ITV", was made up of distinct regions, with each region run by different franchisee companies. The three largest regions, London, the Midlands, and the North of England, were initially sub-divided into weekday and weekend services, with a different company running each.
The service was very heavily regulated until the early 1990s. The regulator, the ITA (and later the IBA) operated the transmitters, awarded franchises and had a great influence over schedules, content and technical standards. Legally the regulator was the broadcaster – the companies were contracted to provide an "independent television service" to compete with the BBC.
The ITV network existed in a region-heavy form from its inception through to the 2000s, although the switch to a single unified service was gradual.
ITV1 became the generic on-screen brand name used by the twelve franchises of the ITV network in the United Kingdom. The ITV1 brand was introduced on 11 August 2001 by Carlton- and Granada-owned franchises, initially used alongside the local regional name, such as "ITV1 Anglia" and "ITV1 Meridian". However, it became the sole on-air identity in 2002 when the two companies decided to create a single unified playout of the channel, with regional references only used prior to regional programming, such as local news and weather. Carlton and Granada went on to merge in 2004, creating ITV plc, which now owns thirteen of the fifteen regional ITV licences.
The ITV1 name was only used in England, Wales, Southern Scotland, and Isle of Man, until Channel Television adopted the name in January 2006, bringing it to the Channel Islands. As national continuity is often used on Channel Television, ITV1 national branding had been seen on the station for several years previously.
The licensees that use the ITV1 brand are: Anglia, Border, Carlton Television, Central, Channel Television, Granada, Cymru Wales, London Weekend Television, Meridian, Tyne Tees, West Country, Yorkshire and (as of 2020) UTV.
ITV Wales & West was the only exception, using the name ITV1 Wales at all times for the Welsh part of its broadcast area, as it has a higher regional commitment. Latterly, the ITV1 Wales name was only used on break-bumpers and regionally advertised programmes until 2013. Non ITV plc-owned licensees on the ITV network, nowadays only STV Group, generally did not refer to the ITV name.
The network production arms of nowadays ITV plc-owned licensees have been gradually combined since 1993, to eventually form ITV Studios.
|Diagram showing consolidation of ITV franchisees into ITV plc|
The ITV1 channel was formed by the unification of eleven of the ITV licences. The United Kingdom Broadcasting Act 1990 changed many of the rules regulating the ITV network, which most notably relaxed separate franchise ownership, and hours of production. However, as far back as 1974, Yorkshire Television and its North East neighbour, Tyne Tees Television, formally created Trident Television, a merged entity of the two companies. By 1981, due to regulation, the company was forced to de-merge; however, they resumed their alliance in 1993 as Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television, which therefore owned the two franchises, and integrated the two companies' assets more than its predecessor.
The intense race to own a larger share of the ITV network began in 1994, when Carlton Communications, the owner of London weekday broadcaster Carlton Television, took control of Central Independent Television in the Midlands. Days afterwards, Granada plc, owner of Granada Television of the North West, purchased London Weekend Television (LWT). Meridian's owner, Mills and Allen International, then went on to purchase Anglia Television in the same year, before merging to become United News and Media (UNM) in 1995. UNM then went on to purchase Wales and West broadcaster, HTV in 1996, while Carlton purchased Westcountry Television later that year. Granada then agreed a deal to take over Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television in 1997, giving the broadcaster access to both Yorkshire and North East franchises.
There was no further movement in the take-over of franchises until 2000, when Border Television and all of its radio assets were sold to Capital Radio Group, who consequently sold the television broadcasting arm to Granada Media Group. Granada then went on to purchase all of UNM's television interests (including its ITV franchises), which brought Meridian, Anglia, and HTV into its power, but due to regulation, Granada was forced to sell HTV to Carlton. By this time, all of the franchises in England and Wales were owned by either Carlton or Granada.
On 2 February 2004, Granada plc officially merged with Carlton Communications, creating ITV plc, although it was in effect, a takeover by Granada. In 2011, ITV plc acquired Channel Television from its private owners Yattendon Group plc. On 19 October 2015, ITV announced they were to buy UTV for £100 million subject to regulatory approval. The deal also included UTV Ireland, UTV's Irish channel. Initially, the UTV name was retained, but on 2 April 2020 the station began using ITV's national continuity-at first as an emergency measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then announced as a permanent transition on 26 November 2020.
The ITV1 channel consists of thirteen regional franchises in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which each broadcast regional news and other local programming to its area. Many franchise areas in England have sub-regions providing separate regional news bulletins. For example, the Anglia region is divided into West and East. This arrangement was suspended in February 2009, when ITV implemented plans to save the company £40m a year on the amount it spent making local news, but was reinstated (with slightly fewer sub-regions) on 16 September 2013.
Since 27 October 2002, on all ITV plc-owned franchises, regional programming has been preceded or plugged by an oral regional announcement, in the format ITV1 regional brand; e.g. ITV1 Granada. In English regions, up until 13 November 2006, regional names were also superimposed (post-production) on these idents below the ITV1 logo, but this practice has since ceased. ITV Wales remains unaffected, and still continues to use dual-branding across all of its on-screen presentation. Despite the lack of regional names on screen, the regional name is usually spoken by the continuity announcer prior to local programmes. After ITV1's unification in 2002, the two London franchises, Carlton Television and London Weekend Television were merged into a single entity, ITV London, while the Wales and West franchise lost its official identity, and instead was substituted with ITV1 Wales and ITV1 West on-air, with no reference linking the two together (the licence was formally split in two by Ofcom from 1 January 2014, when the West region merged with the Westcountry region to form the West Country franchise).
Channel Television adopted the ITV1 brand on-air prior to the 2011 ITV plc takeover of the channel. UTV was purchased by ITV plc in 2016, but did not adopt national continuity until April 2020 (see above).
Areas with full ITV1 channel branding and continuity:
|Broadcast area||Pre-ITV1 branding||Post-2014 franchise||Post-ITV1 branding||ITV-branded franchises map|
|English-Scottish border||Border Television||ITV Border||ITV|
|Isle of Man||ITV Granada|
|North West England||Granada Television|
|North East England||Tyne Tees Television||ITV Tyne Tees|
|Yorkshire and Lincolnshire||Yorkshire Television||ITV Yorkshire|
|The Midlands||Central Independent Television||ITV Central|
|East of England||Anglia Television||ITV Anglia|
|London (weekdays)||Carlton Television||ITV London (weekdays)|
|London (weekends)||LWT||ITV London (weekends)|
|South and South East England||Meridian Broadcasting||ITV Meridian|
|Channel Islands*||Channel Television||ITV Channel Television|
|South West England||Westcountry Television||ITV West Country|
|West of England||HTV West|
|Wales||HTV Wales||ITV Cymru Wales||ITV Cymru Wales|
* ITV1 +1 is not available in the main channels (e.g. channel 203 on Sky, channel 34 on Freeview, channel 112 on Freesat), and may be in the regional variation channels instead (e.g. channel 973 on Sky).
In the English regions (plus Border Scotland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man), the channel was known from 2006 until 2013 as ITV1, from 2013 until 2022 as ITV, and from 15 November 2022, ITV1 at all times. Regional references no longer appear before any programming at all in these areas.
- The "ITV Cymru Wales" brand is name-checked only by local ITV promos and ITV announcers;
- The "UTV" branding in Northern Ireland is only used for local programming.
- The "STV" branding in the Central and North of Scotland regions is used throughout the day from 9:25 am to 6 am daily;
ITV network areas without full ITV1 channel branding and continuity:
|Broadcast area||Present branding||Former branding|
|Northern Scotland||STV||Grampian Television|
|Central Scotland||Scottish Television|
Regional changes 2009–2013Edit
In June 2007, ITV plc executive chairman Michael Grade hinted at a possible re-structure of the ITV regional layout, stating the existence of smaller regional services "no longer makes sense" relative to the regional audience they serve. The plan was confirmed in September 2007, reducing the number of regional news programmes from 17 to just 9, saving around £35 to £40 million each year, and affecting every ITV plc regional company with the exception of ITV London, ITV Wales, and ITV Granada. These changes were implemented in early 2009. All sub-regional news programmes ceased; ITV Border's Lookaround programme was merged with ITV Tyne Tees' North East Tonight programme, ITV Westcountry's Westcountry Live merged with ITV West's The West Tonight programme, and ITV Meridian's Meridian Tonight south and south east editions merged with ITV Thames Valley's Thames Valley Tonight.
On 16 September 2013, ITV reverted to a more localised system, as was the case prior to a shake-up in 2009, with 14 news regions (rather than eight). This meant people in the Borders, for example, saw a return to a Border-only news service, with all stories covered solely on Southern Scotland and Cumbria, similar to the pre-Tyne Tees merger in February 2009. Meanwhile, in the Westcountry, viewers in Devon and Cornwall also saw a return to a more localised service.
A high-definition simulcast of ITV1, ITV1 HD, debuted on 7 June 2008, with the technical launch of the Freeview HD service. The channel has its roots in ITV HD, which began as a trial service in 2006 on a low-power digital terrestrial (DVB-T) channel from London's Crystal Palace transmitting station, and on Telewest TV Drive cable service. The channel was revived on 7 June 2008, in time for the UEFA Euro 2008 football tournament, this time exclusively available on the Freesat digital satellite service. With its debut on Freeview HD, the channel was re-branded as ITV1 HD in December 2009.
The time-shift channel ITV1 +1 launched on all TV platforms, including Freeview in 2011.
Availability outside the UKEdit
ITV channels are available on cable and IPTV in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In the Republic of Ireland, ITV (as UTV) was widely available; however, UTV Ireland was launched in 2015 and replaced UTV in the Republic of Ireland. UTV has since ceased broadcasting in Ireland. ITV is registered to broadcast within the European Union/EEA through ALIA in Luxembourg.
Since 27 March 2013, ITV1 London has been offered by British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) to members of HM Forces and their families around the world, replacing the BFBS3 TV channel, which already carried a selection of ITV programmes.
ITV was not consistently promoted as a brand name until 1989 although the name was in common public use. Independent Television, shortened to ITV, was the collective and generic name for the companies which held commercial television franchises. The name referred to the initial regulator the Independent Television Authority (ITA). It was keen to use this name for its franchisees to highlight the fact they were also public services and not simply commercial broadcasters. In the early years, the network was sometimes referred to as the "ITA network", and the companies as "ITA contractors" or "ITA stations". The companies were principally identified on air using by their own names though some did make reference to ITV too. There were also specific uses of the ITV name – for instance, ITV Schools, ITV Sport, and Children's ITV were used for programming strands.
In 1989, the first real efforts were made to turn ITV into a brand. The ITV Association commissioned a generic presentation package for each of the individual companies. It included both a national logo and regional versions which included an element based on each company's own symbol. The second attempt at consistent network branding came in 1999, using the new national logo introduced a year earlier. A series of idents were created under the theme, "TV from the Heart". Like the 1989 attempt, a version was created for every franchise holder and it effectively led to dual branding. This look was only taken by nine of the fifteen ITV broadcasters, two of which later resorted to other designs which still kept the dual branding. The Carlton-owned regions had their own dual branded idents while the two Scottish regions and UTV made no use of ITV branding.
By 2001, all eleven franchises of England and Wales were owned by either Granada plc or Carlton Communications, and a new common name, ITV1, was launched on 11 August 2001. Regional continuity and idents were dropped in the English regions while the service in Wales was rebranded ITV1 Wales. At this time all English regional continuity announcers were replaced with a single team of national continuity announcers – initially, there were six but the number was later reduced to just four. In January 2006, the channel adopted a new on-air look, designed mainly to improve cross-channel promotion across ITV's multichannel presence. The new logo brought ITV1, ITV2, and ITV3 in line with ITV4's and had been observed on various billboard ads in the UK when the new identity was first used on-screen on 16 January 2006. The overhaul also put an end to the former ITV Day brand, which was axed in favour of a full-time ITV1 identity.
On 14 January 2013, ITV unveiled a huge rebranding, including a new corporate logo inspired by handwriting, and the renaming of the flagship channel back from ITV1 to just ITV. Its colour schemes vary on-air to complement its surroundings; a practice referred to internally as "colour picking". Following the buyout in 2016, UTV also rebranded to these idents, using a tweaked version with the new UTV logo. On 1 January 2019, ITV refreshed its on-air presentation again. The logo and trailers were modified to use a different colour scheme, but the main change was to the idents. In a project known as ITV Creates, a new set of idents were used weekly. They were built around interpretations of the ITV logo commissioned from British visual artists. The first artist featured was Ravi Deepres. UTV continued with its 2013-era idents until it adopted ITV continuity and trials in 2020. However, it used the new on-air presentation on trails with a tweaked version to accommodate the UTV logo.
On 15 November 2022, ITV renamed the channel back from ITV to ITV1 which was used as the name on the channel between 2001 and 2013. ITV1 also received another rebrand, as part of a redesign of all ITV's main channels, being carried out in tandem with the launch of the streaming service ITVX. The logo is now coloured blue and uses idents that are cross-used across ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and ITVBe with different views which reflect the channel's image and programming output.
- ^ 1080p25 sometimes only on Freeview.
- ^ A mostly unified television network composed of 13 regions all branded as ITV1, which break away for local programming and advertisements. However, all other programming is the same in all parts of the network, meaning they are essentially the same channel.
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