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GMTV (Good Morning Television) is the national ITV breakfast television contractor, broadcasting in the United Kingdommarker. It is owned by GMTV Ltd, a subsidiary of ITV plc.

Programmes

Overview

GMTV has held the licence for the breakfast ITV franchise since 1993, when it outbid the previous 6:00 - 9.25 am Channel 3 licence-holder, TV-am. The first show was broadcast on Friday 1 January 1993 and was presented by Eamonn Holmes and Anne Davies, both of whom have since left. It was first intended to be called Sunrise Television, but as Sky News's breakfast programming also went by that name (and still does to this day), Sky protested, resulting in the change of name. STV Group plc (then known as SMG plc), owner of two of the three Channel 3 regional licences for Scotland (Scottish Television and Grampian Television) previously owned 25% of the company; however, this stake was purchased by ITV plc for £31 million in 2004.

GMTV broadcasts from Studio 5 at The London Studiosmarker on the South Bankmarker; as of 2005, the station claims to have the highest breakfast-time audience in Europe.

The station claims to reach approximately 13 million viewers a week, transmitting daily from 6.00 am until the regional Channel 3 franchises (the ITV Network) take over at 9.25 am. Since the switchover is now practically seamless and the station is 'surrounded' in the most part by ITV Network continuity on either side of transmission, most viewers perceive GMTV simply as a programme on ITV; however it essentially remains an independent broadcaster with its own news-gathering operation, sales and management teams and in-house production team. Very occasionally, in the event of a major sporting fixture or such-like occurring early in the morning, the ITV Network may seek permission from the regulator, Ofcommarker, to broadcast during GMTV's airtime, although GMTV always reclaims such time from ITV (normally on the Sunday, following such an event).

GMTV's main rivals include BBC Breakfast (which is more news-oriented), Sky News's Sunrise, and Channel 4's morning schedule (which includes Friends). Until fairly recently, GMTV has been the most watched television channel in its timeslot. It is now regularly beaten in the ratings by the more serious BBC Breakfast on BBC One. Due to its part-Disney ownership, it also occasionally finds itself in conflict with its own majority owner; for example, it was reported that ITV plc's year-long negotiations to launch a children's channel with Nickelodeon were ultimately thwarted by GMTV, who felt that the viewing figures for its own children's programming would be threatened by such a venture. The plans were scrapped, and when ITV eventually launched the CITV Channel, it placated GMTV by contracting the company to sell the advertising in the channel's airtime (making it the only ITV-owned channel not sold by the in-house advertising sales division). ITV plc has attempted to buy out Disney's stake in GMTV, in order to secure 24-hour control of Channel 3 in Englandmarker and Walesmarker, eventually paying £18m for the 25% on 26 November 2009.

As of 2007, GMTV began airing on Bank Holidays. Previously, children's programming such as Toonattik aired from 06:00-09:25, however due to low ratings this was dropped, with all kids' shows airing as normal at weekends.

As of November 2009, ITV purchased full control of the broadcaster from The Walt Disney Company's 25% share.

2009 Relaunch

January 2009 GMTV ident.
GMTV overhauled its branding, with the new look premièring on-screen on 5 January 2009. This coincided with the departure of main presenter Fiona Phillips and weather presenter Andrea McLean in December 2008.

In November 2008, after much speculation, it was announced that Sky News business presenter Emma Crosby would replace Fiona Phillips, and the BBC's Kirsty McCabe would replace McLean as weather presenter.

In January 2009, GMTV returned with a new set and new onscreen graphics. For the first time since the station's launch the logo was changed from the 'sun' logo. Despite the changes, the same theme music and headline beds were still used throughout the programme. The previous programme names News Hour and GMTV Today were dropped in favour of just GMTV, with LK Today renamed GMTV with Lorraine. Presenters continue to present in their previous slots and at the top of the hour refer to the show as GMTV with ... although this is not seen on screen. Some people suggest that Today and Newshour were dropped as people refer to GMTV as a whole rather than individual programmes.

The channel has previously been criticised for its poor journalistic approach although from 2009 has taken on a more confident approach, with 7 minute bulletins on the top of the hour, a detailed bulletin at half-past the hour, and the Top Stories at 15 and 45 minutes past each hour. These replace the hour and half-hour bulletins which it was previously.

On 9 March 2009, GMTV introduced new theme music and headline beds to its main programmes, replacing the previous music that had been in use since 2000.

On 31 August 2009, GMTV saw the introduction of 3D graphics, graphic animations, through the use of a new system called VizRT, and a voice over announcer to introduce presenters at the top of the hour. These were later slightly revised in the October of the that year.

Presenters

In 2005, main male anchor Eamonn Holmes decided not to renew his contract because he considered GMTV to be 'celebrity-oriented', and stated that the channel did not broadcast sufficient news and current affairs output; he also supposedly disagreed with how the managing editors ran the programmes. He and bosses also disputed Holmes' demand for a pay rise. He joined Sky News's Sunrise in October 2005, after being with GMTV since its launch in 1993.

Main presenters at the station currently include; Andrew Castle, Emma Crosby, Lorraine Kelly, Ben Shephard, Penny Smith and John Stapleton and Kate Garraway.

Background

As a nationally available analogue terrestrial station, GMTV is required, by the terms of its licence, to fulfil various public service commitments, including substantial broadcasting of news and current affairs output, as well as the aforementioned children's programmes, and also party political broadcasts over election periods. It has been criticised for its poor journalistic quality (for instance placing a soap opera storyline in its headline news) and an over-reliance on phone-in competitions.

Breakfast time on Channel 3

As a Channel 3 licensee, GMTV also has the right to broadcast during the same slot alongside ITV's digital channels; its sister service, GMTV2, follows the same broadcast slot with mostly children's programming, except at weekends from 9:00 am when teleshopping takes over. GMTV2 was broadcast on the same channel number as ITV plc-owned digital channel ITV2 until 16 March 2008, where the slot moved to the same channel as ITV4. The company also has broadcasting rights on the same channel as ITV3 (and even holds a 'GMTV3' licence), but has so far foregone its chance to launch a third station, preferring to sell its airtime to ITV plc, to allow ITV3 to broadcast around the clock.

Most recently, GMTV has acquired a further channel slot in the form of the same channel as the CITV Channel, whose programming between 6:00 and 9.25 am is simulcast with that of GMTV's children's output on its other two stations: on GMTV2 throughout the week, and on GMTV at weekends. GMTV also sells advertising time for the entire output of the channel. Since its involvement with the CITV Channel, GMTV has adopted CITV branding on all its simulcast children's output over GMTV and GMTV2, in order to simplify the simulcasts, leading to the disappearance of any on-screen reference to GMTV during these times, with the exception of Toonattik's endcap, which says "A GMTV Kids Production" above the Toonattik logo.

Online

The GMTV website has more than 800,000 unique users and attracts more than 8 million page impressions a month. In May 2007, gm.tv teamed up with Reuters to provide 24/7 news and showbiz headlines. On 1 September 2008, gm.tv relaunched, however not fully, as GMTV are phasing in various new look sections.

GMTV relaunched the gm.tv website to include the new look and segment names on January 5, 2009, to coincide with the re-launch of the programme and refresh again on Monday 25th August 2009.

Controversy

On 23 April 2007, a BBC Panorama investigation disclosed that callers to GMTV's phone-in competitions may have been defrauded out of around £40 million, because the telephone system operator, Opera Interactive Technology, had determined the winners before the phone lines had closed. GMTV responded by suspending the phone-in quizzes, and while they initially claimed that "it was confident it had not breached regulators' codes", they subsequently terminated their contract with Opera Interactive after their own investigations discovered "irregularities". Opera Interactive also denied any wrongdoing.

On 26 September 2007, as a result of an Ofcom investigation, GMTV was handed a record £2m fine for their role in the competition phone-in debacle.

In 2008, GMTV acquired controversy for its supposed bad-handling of regional news opt-outs, cutting to and from the regional news updates at the incorrect time or in some cases not opting-out at all.

Time changes

The channel is usually broadcast from 06:00-09:25 daily, but has had to change times on several occasions due to live sport events clashing with this timeslot. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the channel was moved to a later slot, and on more than one occasion, the channel did not broadcast at all. GMTV was also heavily affected by Formula One races live from Asia (up to the end of the 2008 season, BBC Sport took over F1 coverage for 2009), which also pushed GMTV back to a later time - normally it broadcasts on these Sundays from 10:00-12:00. This was entirely taken up by the Toonattik cartoons slot. Owing to live coverage of the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix, the channel broadcast Toonattik from 09:05-10:20.

References

  1. Reuters report on Interactive Investor, accessed 26 November 2009
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/nov/26/itv-buys-remaining-gmtv-stake
  3. http://www.gm.tv/index.cfm?articleid=31779
  4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/29/itv.television?gusrc=rss&feed=media
  5. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/a139589/weather-presenter-mclean-quits-gmtv.html
  6. http://tvnewsroom.co.uk/gmtv/gmtv-idents
  7. http://tvnewsroom.co.uk/blog/
  8. "GMTV - Latest News", gm.tv. Accessed 2007-08-02.
  9. "Viewers 'lose millions' to GMTV", BBC News, 23 April 2007. Accessed 2007-04-23.
  10. "GMTV fined record £2 million by watchdog over phone-in scandal", Times Online, 26 September 2007. Accessed 2007-09-26.


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