ITC slams ITV’s reliance on soaps

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has criticised ITV for its extensive scheduling of soaps, which it says poses a potential “threat to diversity” on the ITV1 channel during peak time.

The criticism, which appears in the regulator’s annual report, comes on the back of a decision by ITV to introduce a fifth weekly instalment of Coronation Street in addition to its five weekly episodes of Emmerdale. The ITC also said that, apart from “strong” dramas, the weekday peak-time schedule was “rarely challenging”.

But TV buyers have hit back at the ITC. David Peters, broadcast planning director at Carat, the media agency for Coronation Street sponsor Cadbury, says the extra episode and new storylines have boosted audiences.

MindShare head of investment Nick Theakstone says: “It has done quite a lot for ITV1’s ratings. After all, it’s only one more episode.”

The ITC also said that ITV1’s performance in 2002 was patchy, and that it was concerned about the “unpredictable scheduling” of ITV News. However, it added that ITV1 had improved its daytime programming with the addition of new formats; exceeded its minimum requirement for current affairs programming; and introduced an “ambitious” series of new entertainment shows, such as Pop Idol.

Channel 4 received praise for its “challenging” documentary and factual programming, but was criticised for the “disappointing” lack of contemporary drama. Five was praised for improving the quality of its documentaries and reducing its reliance on crime and adult material.

  • The ITC report reveals that Pot Noodle’s campaign, using the strapline “Slag of all snacks” attracted more complaints than any other last year.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here