ITV needs a little more focus

Remember when ITV used to make good programmes? That’s right, it was roughly before the franchise sell-off at the beginning of the 90s. There have been a few good programmes since then, including Cracker and, erm, suggestions anyone? But it’s mostly been rubbish, ever since Thames got sent down the river.

Perhaps it’s the lack of decent ‘creatives’. Perhaps it’s a lack of cash. That’s certainly something to do with it. To be honest, though, I think the problem is simply the quest for ratings: try to be all things to all people and you end up pleasing no one. You’d have thought now they have four channels and they’re not bothering to put on regional programming, really, they might be able to do something about that. But despite a silly rebranding, all they have are two versions of ITV1 and two nostalgia channels, interspersed with good stuff they’ve bought from other people.

But despite plummeting ratings, what are they doing about it? First, buying Friends Reunited at a stupendously stupid price. Now, they’re looking to take a majority stake in TV3, Ireland’s only commercial channel.

You know, if I were them, strapped for cash and my ratings were sliding, I’d be thinking about making better programmes. This hasn’t quite registered at ITV though. Of course, if TV3 is making oodles of cash, taking a majority stake in them would certainly help with the cashflow. But faffing around with Friends Reunited and TV3 is really just a distraction from the important thing, which is making decent programmes.