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ITV close to new regional plan

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ITV close to new regional plan
ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has indicated the company is close to unveiling its proposals for revising its regional output.

Speaking at the ITV interim results presentation yesterday, Grade was quizzed on his June speech to Ofcom's Nations and Regions conference in Cardiff - in which he said ITV would have to choose between streamlining its UK regional network or creating a new generation of regional services.

Grade said the company was currently costing its plans, which will make up part of its forthcoming business review to be presented on September 12.

"I believe there is a way to 'have our cake and eat it'; to get considerable savings whilst at the same time maintaining that important link with our regional identities," Grade said yesterday.

Grade added there was a benefit to the ITV brand retaining its regional links, but the way the regions were currently configured was "wasteful and inefficient," and that the broadcaster could still provide a good service, but with a "rationalised regional map."

Though Grade added that the speed at which such plans could progress was dependent on Ofcom. He said: "The issue is how quickly we can get the regulator to give us the freedom to create a regional and national provision that is sustainable beyond 2012. This is not a problem for post 2012 - it is a problem today. That is where the argument will lay between us and Ofcom."


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