×

ITV jobs at risk under Ofcom plan

Announced proposals cut commitments

LONDON — Hundreds of jobs are at risk at Blighty’s commercial broadcaster ITV as regulator Ofcom announced proposals to dramatically cut its public service commitments, including regional news shows.

A union official denounced Ofcom, which published the second phase of its public service broadcasting review on Thursday, as a “failed” regulator.

But investors reacted favorably to the plan. ITV’s stock price surged by 8% in early trading to 46p subsequently falling back to 44.5p.

ITV stands to save an estimated £40 million ($74 million) a year by scaling back local news shows.

The regulator described the move as “a credible means to sustain quality national and regional news services on ITV1,” but unions were scathing.

Luke Crawley, assistant general secretary at U.K. technicians’ union Bectu, warned that between 300-400 jobs could be lost.

National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said Ofcom had merely rubber-stamped ITV’s proposals.

He said: “It is failing in its duty to protect public service broadcasting. It is failing to guarantee a future for diverse regional news. It is failing to adequately represent the interests of citizens.”

But Ofcom, announcing an extra $435 million of public funding was needed by 2012 to ensure the BBC did not end up as the U.K.’s sole pubcaster, insisted it was committed to maintaining plurality in the provision of public service broadcasting.

In a statement ITV said: “We have consistently argued that the regulatory costs and commercial benefits of holding the ITV licenses need to be re-balanced between now and analog switch off in 2012.

“We welcome Ofcom’s acknowledgement of the need to strike the right balance between these costs and benefits, which is reflected in its proposals for ITV’s regional news services and regional non-news programs.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

  • Peter Fonda Dead: 'Easy Rider' Star

    Peter Fonda, Star of 'Easy Rider,' Dies at 79

    Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote, produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie “Easy Rider,” then showed Hollywood he could act about three decades later in “Ulee’s Gold,” died on Friday from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His sister Jane Fonda [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content