ITV speeds the flow of daytime TV



ITV broke new ground with the launch of a seamless morning line-up.

Beginning with a new three hour edition of Good Morning Britain with extra news at 6am, for the first time, the channel ran 7 1/2 hours of continuous live programmes, with one programme flowing into another, without idents introducing the programmes.

Instead, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women were previewed at the end of each preceding programme with ITV going straight into the next programme after a commercial break.

It's a first for ITV, where programmes have traditionally been more clearly demarcated with the aid of idents and trailers in comparison to other parts of the world, where television programme flow moves faster, almost crashing from one show to another. Speeding the flow is intended to keep viewers watching, in the same way on-demand services may automatically cue the next clip or programme as soon as one ends.

For Lorraine, it was the first regular weekday show to straddle across the ITV Breakfast and main Channel 3 licence switch at 9:25am. A commercial break was timed to finish seconds before 9:25am, at which point viewers in Central and Northern Scotland were switched from ITV to STV: a historical anomaly dating back to when the ITV breakfast service - originally TV-am - used to hand over the airwaves to local ITV companies at 9:25am on the dot.

Legally, ITV Breakfast still operates under a separate Ofcom licence to this day, which ends at 9:25am. STV is legally not permitted to take over the Channel 3 service in its broadcast area until that point. In all other regions, ITV plc now controls the whole service, rather than regional stations.

The change to the format of Good Morning Britain gathered the main headlines in the tabloid press, with a number of articles claiming that viewers were "furious" over the changes, which sees Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid take over presenting duties at 6:30am, half an hour later than normal, to facilitate 30 minutes of news.