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Topic Title: The future of ITV
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Created On: 15 September 2013 01:00 PM
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 08 October 2013 09:29 PM
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normcall

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Imagination, might I suggest, is in short supply.
There are a lot of short story writers out there, but it takes imagination to turn them into a 25 minute visual medium.
Many years ago I used to make films as a hobby and I found documentaries so much easier than converting a storyline into a finished watch-able film. One of my best efforts was converting Peter Sellers 'Balham - Gateway to the South' into 'Aldbury - gateway to the north'.
40 years later I still marvel on how amateur film makers using basic super 8 equipment actually turned out very good productions - and some very bad ones, I might add.
Today technology has overtaken imagination in my view (as an average member of the public), just as film and/or television took over book reading. There is a diminishing demand for thought provoking material. Even BBC is having to dig into the archives for some afternoon TV at the moment and I bet viewing figures surprise them. Even a Christmas 'Open All Hours' is planned.
I rest my case!

-------------------------
Norman
 10 October 2013 06:18 AM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: normcall
Imagination, might I suggest, is in short supply.

There are a lot of short story writers out there, but it takes imagination to turn them into a 25 minute visual medium.


In the minds of media bosses, yes. In society as a whole, no.

40 years later I still marvel on how amateur film makers using basic super 8 equipment actually turned out very good productions - and some very bad ones, I might add.


Nothing has changed. Millions of film makers with no professional training or experience in large media corporations turn out very good productions nowadays. There's also plenty of bad productions on YouTube and the like but all you have to do is separate the wheat from the chaff.

Today technology has overtaken imagination in my view (as an average member of the public), just as film and/or television took over book reading. There is a diminishing demand for thought provoking material. Even BBC is having to dig into the archives for some afternoon TV at the moment and I bet viewing figures surprise them. Even a Christmas 'Open All Hours' is planned.


You may be right. Since the mid 1990s television has gone from 4:3 625 lines to widescreen to HD to 3D but whether there are quality productions which make good use of advancements in technology is debatable. Demand for classic and retro programmes is high, and continually rising, yet it's the sort of material that some videophiles think is best viewed on a 4:3 CRT.

In my opinion, ITV is 'squeezed' - in a similar way to the Ford Mondeo - where it's former and potential viewers have headed off in several different directions. Nobody on this forum has properly answered my questions and neither do many people elsewhere raise similar questions or have ideas about the future of ITV. The situation is complicated by there being 3 ITV companies with different territories which makes complete deregulation of ITV a tricky business.
 10 October 2013 11:34 AM
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kengreen

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sorry Jen can, but I simply have to disagree.

It is a truth that their is not a plentiful supply of story writers, and neither is it true that there is a plentiful supply of people capable of dramatising such stories such that they can be presented as either film or video. This situation is aggravated by the unbelievable ignorance of those who today lead such as ITV.

Dig a little deeper and you might notice that the decline in writers of all sorts is rooted in the lack of basic training; you do not learn to write from the age of three years - that is a matter of committing to memory, a system of hieroglyphics, by means of which it is possible to pass information to others who are distant in both time and space. Writing has its own skills which have to be learned; to learn demands a supply of teachers.and it is here that the true shortage lurks.

There is a very simple cure and that is to return to the early practice of starting television programmes at 14:00 hours and shutting down by midnight - daily.

NO ... I do not need instruction! As an added bonus such a changewould produce a huge reduction in the demand for energy and this would feed through in a variety of ways.

Let us stop kidding ourselves that television has a primary purpose in entertainment - were that true we would get some entertaining programmes!

Ken Green
 10 October 2013 09:46 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: kengreen
It is a truth that their is not a plentiful supply of story writers, and neither is it true that there is a plentiful supply of people capable of dramatising such stories such that they can be presented as either film or video. This situation is aggravated by the unbelievable ignorance of those who today lead such as ITV.


I'm not sure where you get this idea of a shortage of story writers from but if it's derived from what you see on the TV screen then it is not representative of reality. My own experience from working with children is that story writers are ten a penny in Britain but only a tiny fraction ever find their works commercialised. The fault lies with media bosses who are conservative, unadventurous, out of touch with what the public really wants, have downright poor tastes, or any combination of these acting as a roadblock to story writers. This is why I mentioned the drama series about Asperger syndrome being shown on the internet because it does not fit in the narrow window of ideas that existing media bosses consider to be suitable for broadcasting.

Dig a little deeper and you might notice that the decline in writers of all sorts is rooted in the lack of basic training; you do not learn to write from the age of three years - that is a matter of committing to memory, a system of hieroglyphics, by means of which it is possible to pass information to others who are distant in both time and space. Writing has its own skills which have to be learned; to learn demands a supply of teachers.and it is here that the true shortage lurks.


The ability to write good fiction is pure talent.

There is a very simple cure and that is to return to the early practice of starting television programmes at 14:00 hours and shutting down by midnight - daily.


I don't think that would change anything.
 12 October 2013 12:15 PM
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kengreen

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Ah Jemcan,

You are obviously riding a hobby-horse without being aware that horses eat hay!

My idea of a shortage of story writers stems from the difficulty of finding stories worth reading, let alone dramatising? Yes, I don't disagree that there are plenty of stories out on the Internet and filling the hours of television viewing, but you surely would not present them as possessing even a smudge of literary merit? You are sadly mistaken. If you believe that what is presented to us is a product of the television bosses - it's the other way around - those bosses feed us what they know to be favoured by the majority of viewers because that is what controls their income, particularly when that income derives from advertising.

Surely that which the majority can use as moving wallpaper derives from our education system? And certainly you are wrong when you state blandly that the ability to write good fiction is pure talent. It is one thing to dream up a good story , but be able to craft that idea into a saleable tale is something else. You should compare the total poPpulation of its age against the number of successful writers - you end up with a pitifully small fraction. Storytelling is an art which goes back to the very beginning of communal life when professional storytellers made their way from village to village, entertaining for the benefit of a night's accommodation and food., they will also, the news media of their age but of course, in those days, news was not mainly concerned with selling newspapers!

Have you trIied to write a story and sell it?

If you don't think that teLlevision has completely changed our way of living, then you are making a strong statement of your age.

Ken Green
 13 October 2013 11:37 AM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: kengreen
My idea of a shortage of story writers stems from the difficulty of finding stories worth reading, let alone dramatising? Yes, I don't disagree that there are plenty of stories out on the Internet and filling the hours of television viewing, but you surely would not present them as possessing even a smudge of literary merit?


This is now entering the realm of subjectivity and personal taste. What Mr Smith thinks is a great story Mrs Jones might end up finding awful or is not to her personal taste and vice versa. It's similar to how some people think that Shakespeare is the world's greatest playright whereas others thoroughly detest his works.

Do you define literary merit as a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping story or something where the average middle aged person can only understand one word in five? There are times when I have thought that if a piece of fiction is beyond the comprehension of an average 12 year old then it is enthusiasts material.

You are sadly mistaken. If you believe that what is presented to us is a product of the television bosses - it's the other way around - those bosses feed us what they know to be favoured by the majority of viewers because that is what controls their income, particularly when that income derives from advertising.


The bosses feed us what they think is favoured by the viewers rather than what is actually watched by the viewers. I have long suspected that TV viewing figures are highly inaccurate or batch sampled only from people fitting within certain narrow demographic windows.

It's quite interesting to note that Islamic television channels are now in the top 25 watched by children in West Yorkshire according to a survey but Ofcom considers them to be obscure so therefore does not include them in their viewing figures for individual channels. I'm also tempted to say that the regular viewers of these channels also watch less than one hour of ITV a week on average because most of the programmes do not appeal to them.

Something that appears to have been overlooked is how Thames Television was a major producer of programmes (second only to the BBC) and presided over a region with a large and increasing foreign and ethnic population, but very rarely produced programmes catering to the interests of this audience. Most Thames productions were popular entertainment intended for indigenous white British people. Failing to address the needs and interests of their local audience was NOT the reason why Thames lost the franchise bid. In contrast, TSW did not have the muscle to produce popular prime time programmes like Thames so instead focused much of its efforts on creating programmes targetted at its local audience and their interests. I haven't done any market research but it is plausible that large numbers of West Country folk would love to see TSW revived whereas 3 out of 4 Londoners today have never heard of Thames Television or it's just a fading memory to them.

Surely that which the majority can use as moving wallpaper derives from our education system?


I disagree with this because I'm convinced that the majority of creative people develop their talents outside of the school curriculum. Over the years I have met all sorts of creative children in arts, film and video production, website design, and software development all of which developed their talents and creations outside of school. Some of them are home educated, for various reasons, but common ones are that school was holding them back or that they didn't have enough time to devote to their interests and talents which could lead to a successful career.

I used to marvel over the way my son could program a computer whilst he was still at primary school despite having never been taught programming in school ICT lessons.

And certainly you are wrong when you state blandly that the ability to write good fiction is pure talent. It is one thing to dream up a good story , but be able to craft that idea into a saleable tale is something else.


That is true. There have been many discussions about literary material in home education meetings such as why is Harry Potter so popular yet so many other works of fiction are obscure or forgotten about. Every time the discussion concludes that it's the media bosses who are to blame. They effectively act as gatekeepers who decide what is popular rather than by letting society itself decide.

One of my son's favourite cartoons is the Mysterious Cities of Gold. He found out about it from donated videos. It was last shown on British television in 1989 - before he was born. He has introduced several younger people to the cartoon, most of which are impressed by it and its thrilling storyline. One 6 year old ended up hooked on it and his parents had to go and buy the complete DVD set. I think it's a crying shame that it hasn't been repeated on (the terrestrial) television channels but media bosses can't see an audience for it although I'm convinced there is a big one.
 13 October 2013 03:00 PM
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kengreen

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Jencam,

I think we are writing from a completely different set of standards. I don't regard literary merit as resting in either a gripping or interesting story. Rather, does it lay in the skill which the writer displays in telling that story.. For example, there is no more boring book than the novel, which begins on page 1 and proceeds to the final page in a strict chronological order. It is here that the short story demands much skill in narration - with a limited number of words, each one has to serve several purposes in telling the tale, in introducing the characters, in developing the characters and in engaging the readers'imaginations for it is in that last that success is determined.

I have always considered that the pinnacle of this art is to be found in opera: the librettist provides a poem; the composer sets it to music without compromising that musical form; the singers, who spend ten years learning how to sing and in acquiring a repertoire, then bring the production to life and typically spend more than two hours on stage long tracts of which are solo performances; the orchestra does not support the singers but for most of the time simply dab in a background; the orchestral conductor maintains cohesion between some 50-odd players and the singers who in fact set the pace -and that only scratches the surface. The greatest triumph lies in bringing all those enterprises together but much depends also on such things as scenery, lighting and acoustics.

The real joy in opera lies in the fact that the only thing common to all productions is the libretto and the music. There is a great fashion at the moment for bringing opera up-to-date - modern settings, modern costume but the words and music remain the same - I can assure you that there have been some very artistically successful productions and some which are in such bad taste that they deserve the adjective "obscene".

It is very similar to the modern belief that to produce reality in writing or in stage productions. It is essential to descend into four-letter obscenities - to my mind that reveals artistic defeat.

Ken Green
 13 October 2013 06:06 PM
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ectophile

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Each to his own. Personally, I consider opera to be the worst form of music/theatre ever invented, all bellowing and screeching. It doesn't matter what language it's in, because you won't understand a word of it anyway. It's one of the few forms of music I will actively avoid, rather than just not caring about.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 13 October 2013 06:20 PM
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kengreen

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ectophile,

How much do you know, or understand, about the three zones, which form the basis of operatic singing technique?

How much do you know about the traps for singers which are set by composers

Ken Greenr
 13 October 2013 06:20 PM
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kengreen

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ectophile,

How much do you know, or understand, about the three zones, which form the basis of operatic singing technique?

How much do you know about the traps for singers which are set by composers

Ken Greenr
 13 October 2013 06:20 PM
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kengreen

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ectophile,

How much do you know, or understand, about the three zones, which form the basis of operatic singing technique?

How much do you know about the traps for singers which are set by composers

Ken Greenr
 13 October 2013 08:00 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: kengreen
I think we are writing from a completely different set of standards.


I have reached a similar conclusion. I'm discussing ITV as a whole whereas you appear to be focusing your attention on highbrow arts and drama of the BBC2 variety.

Have you anything to say about documentaries, children's programmes, current affairs, local issues, sports, educational programmes, religion, and political coverage?

I have always considered that the pinnacle of this art is to be found in opera


One of my questions at the start of this discussion was about whether ITV should focus more on niche programmes. Are you saying that they should start showing more opera? Do you like the older type of Indian films? Technically they are operas.
 13 October 2013 10:33 PM
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kengreen

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no jem on,

you can't win an argument with me using words which you yourself put into my mouth - sorry that should have been my keyboard:-)

I have long since regarded ITV as a dead loss, and I wonder exactly what you mean when you talk about "highbrow arts and drama of the BBC2 variety?" Right from the beginning, documentaries on ITV were remarkable for their lack of content. I can't speak of their drama productions because I would never have watched them - had you worked behind the scenesyet it is very probable that you would not have bothered either? I think the same criticism would be aimed at a educational programs and political coverage but in any event, I do not believe that religion has a place on television except perhaps forthis such things as Sunday/Christmas services.

If, as you say, you are discussing ITV as a whole then I'm not surprised that we cannot reach an agreement - from its very inception ITV was about raking in money and had little concern for the arts. With their limited technical facilities I'm surprised that anyone ever tried.

Bear in mind that when ITV started the only source of trained or experienced studio engineers was the BBC; the information that reached me was that ITV shamelessly poached technical staff from the Beeb by offering outrageous salaries. The gravy train ground to a halt. however, when their one-year contracts expired and the offer of continuing employment was at a disgracefully reduced salary. The BBC, of course, had trained more engineers to fill the gaps and so those who left had no way back. Very amateurish managerial skills?

As regards your final paragraph. I think ITV should focus on earning a living.

Ken Green
 14 October 2013 08:28 AM
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jencam

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I have had many issues with and complained about the standard of programming on ITV making references to a lack of content, lack of depth, over popularising etc. However, TVS appeared to somewhat break the mould by taking more of an active interest in factual and documentary programmes than other ITV companies traditionally had done in the past. What ITV region did you live in?

Originally posted by: kengreen
I think ITV should focus on earning a living.


I'm not quite sure how to interpret this. Do you support the idea of deregulation of ITV to put it on the same level as an obscure satellite channel then tell it to sink or swim? ITV is in a position of being more regulated by Ofcom than other independent satellite channels.
 14 October 2013 02:34 PM
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kengreen

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jencam,

Until I ran away to Cornwall. I lived in the London area, but apart from that I had no knowledge of regional commercial television. I can only state my conviction that there was not, and possibly is not, any broAadcast erection that comes anywhere near to the BBC standard.

It is my opinion that ITV (certainly as it originally came into being.) Should have been heavily taxed until it showed any willingness to provide a public service. I abhor any organisation which sets out with the deliberate intent to maximise its profits at the exPpense Oof the public whom it pretends to value.

Ken Green
 14 October 2013 02:34 PM
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kengreen

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jencam,

Until I ran away to Cornwall. I lived in the London area, but apart from that I had no knowledge of regional commercial television. I can only state my conviction that there was not, and possibly is not, any broAadcast erection that comes anywhere near to the BBC standard.

It is my opinion that ITV (certainly as it originally came into being.) Should have been heavily taxed until it showed any willingness to provide a public service. I abhor any organisation which sets out with the deliberate intent to maximise its profits at the exPpense Oof the public whom it pretends to value.

Ken Green
 14 October 2013 07:53 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: kengreen
It is my opinion that ITV (certainly as it originally came into being.) Should have been heavily taxed until it showed any willingness to provide a public service. I abhor any organisation which sets out with the deliberate intent to maximise its profits at the exPpense Oof the public whom it pretends to value.


I'm unsure how you define public service in conjunction with ITV but I agree with you that ITV has a history of being overwhelmingly driven by money and profit rather than the production of quality programmes. I do not think that all privately owned television companies have the same outlook.
 14 October 2013 09:15 PM
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kengreen

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it's nice to find something on which we can reach an agreement. Independent television as an entity certainly cannot be accused of minting money. I have mentioned elsewhere - perhaps here? - that Tyne produced an excellent 15 series of dramatised novels by Catherine Cookson and, without reservation, I consider them to be the equal of anything the BBC has produced.
 15 October 2013 04:32 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: kengreen
Bear in mind that when ITV started the only source of trained or experienced studio engineers was the BBC; the information that reached me was that ITV shamelessly poached technical staff from the Beeb by offering outrageous salaries. The gravy train ground to a halt. however, when their one-year contracts expired and the offer of continuing employment was at a disgracefully reduced salary. The BBC, of course, had trained more engineers to fill the gaps and so those who left had no way back. Very amateurish managerial skills?


I asked my son about this and he is vaguely aware of it. However, in the longer term a regional ITV managed to create employment in television engineering throughout the country that probably wouldn't otherwise have existed, and provided a springboard for technical staff to later work for the BBC. Are there any current or former ITV technical staff here?
 15 October 2013 06:50 PM
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kengreen

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now you have my attention.

My last ten years before resignation was spent in the BBC engineering training school - we were effectively unique. Training was provided for technical studio engineers, four colour television engineers, for sound and recording engineers and introduction courses for young people coming into the broadcasting business. Although rated as a senior member I never heard of traffic in the opposite direction, namely staff coming in from such as ITV.

Why would the BBC take an income from outside when they were training all sorts to meet their own requirements?.

Ken Green
IET » Communications engineering » The future of ITV

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