ITV assures advertisers programme budgets remain safe from cutbacks

ITV will save money through tougher negotiations with suppliers rather than slashed programme budgets, the channel reassured advertisers this week.

Speaking at ITV’s winter programming launch yesterday (Tuesday), network director Marcus Plantin countered reports that ITV plans to cut programming spending by one-third in 1996.

“It’s a question of getting better value for money rather than cutting budgets,” a network centre spokesman says. “Different ITV companies have different interests, but it is in the best interest of all to see more original programming.”

ITV plans to spend just under 690m on original network and regional programming next year; 583m of this will be on network-only commissions. However,

ITV Association director Barry Cox told the Media Research Group conference in Barcelona last week that ITV also wants to nego tiate savings of up to one-third.

Highlights of the winter 1996 season include Call Red, a drama series about a helicopter rescue crew, new police drama Thief Takers, and a series based on the Jilly Cooper book, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous.

Channel 4 launched its winter schedule, pledging to increase its programme budget by 15 per cent – to 265m – next year. Highlights include Gulliver’s Travels and Dennis Potter’s final two dramas. The Girlie Show, a female-oriented successor to The Word, is also scheduled.

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