Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of broadcasting union Bectu, rebutted ITV's claims that the cutbacks were as a result of the economic downturn.
“This is because of the mismanagement of ITV and has been going on for longer than the current credit crunch,” he said.
Falling advertising revenue in a recession? It’s another head scratcher, I’m afraid. What? You’re struggling to sell your goods in a recession, so you cut down on advertising? I’m sure there are some companies that will do this, but it hardly makes sense to make it harder for customers to know about your product if you’re already having trouble selling it. How are you going to let people know you’ve slashed the price?
So the guy from the union has a point, I think. What ITV need are audiences for their shows: then they’ll get the advertising, because – if anything – there’s even more need to advertise in a recession than during an economic boom. So where did it all go wrong? Basically, it went wrong on the creative side of the business. What multi-channel TV does is allow people to make more comparisons. They can look at the high production values and vast pool of talent on US shows and wonder why we only see the same few actors over and over again on British TV. What? Robson Green? Again? Or Zoe Tapper? Again? Philip Glenister? Again? And so on.
Viewers can also watch the re-runs of the great shows of the past and wonder why the modern stuff doesn’t measure up. So, Inspector Morse wasn’t made in HD, but it’s still a better show than, you know, that thing with Philip Glenister and Zoe Tapper in it. TV producers are in love with “the HD look” at the moment, but they’re forgetting to tell interesting stories with interesting characters.