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How do the new ITV local news regions compare with the BBC?

I thought it might be interesting to look at the differences in the provision of local news on BBC1 and ITV (or UTV or STV) once ITV plc implements the local news changes.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the differences in
published on UK Free TV

The starting point, if you wish to look yourself is the BBC nations and regions - overview map and ITV, UTV and STV regions - overview map pages.

BBC and ITV national regional services match

In the following regions, the BBC and ITV services have the same geographical coverage and the services are a full half-hour of regional news weekday evenings. The percentages in brackets are the proportion of the total UK population served.

BBC London and ITV London (18.46%)
BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada (11.44%)
BBC Wales and ITV Wales (4.51%)
BBC Northern Ireland and UTV (2.15%)
BBC Channel Islands and ITV Channel (0.28%)

BBC provides more than ITV

In the following regions, the BBC and ITV services have the same geographical coverage and the services are a full half-hour of regional news weekday evenings on BBC One, but just 20 minutes on ITV.

BBC West Midlands and ITV Central West (11.72%)
BBC Yorkshire and ITV Calendar North (7.45%)
BBC Points West and ITV West Country East (3.77%)
BBC Lincolnshire + E Yorkshire and ITV Calendar South (2.75%)
BBC Spotlight South West and ITV West Country West (2.71%)
BBC East Midlands and ITV Central East (2.40%)

ITV will be more local than the BBC

The Anglia region is served by a 30 minute programme on the BBC, which has about 10 minutes of opt-out for the Cambridge side of the region. ITV will be providing 20 minutes of dedicated news for both Anglia East and Anglia West.

The BBC North East region covers an area which ITV split between ITV Tyne Tees (5.37%) and ITV Border (England) (0.86%).

ITV Tyne Tees will have 20 minutes of local news, as will Border. The BBC will provide 30 minutes of news covering both the east and west.

Scotland: STV wins

The nation of Scotland is covered by a single BBC region (in HD), but gets coverage from five regions on channel 3:

STV Central (Glasgow), 3.40%
STV North (Aberdeen) (1.08%)
STV Central (Edinburgh), 0.85%
STV North (Dundee), (0.38%)
Border (Scotland), (0.18%)

Ofcom "have also decided that the licence for Border should require separate DTT transmissions for the English and Scottish areas. It will be a matter for ITV if it decides to provide split satellite transmissions – these are not provided under PSB licences. "

See also Micro Regions - STV Sales.

ITV Meridian: it's complicated

The only part of England where there is significant difference in the provision of news services between ITV and the BBC is in the South East of England.

The BBC provides two main programmes BBC South Today (from Southampton) and BBC South East Today (from Tunbridge Wells). The BBC also provides a 15 minute opt-out from South Today for Oxfordshire.

Under the new proposals, there will be two 20 minutes programmes on ITV - ITV Meridian South Coast and ITV Meridian South East.

However, Meridian South East is not the same area as BBC South East. It doesn't include the Brighton and Hove conurbation, and it does include much of West Sussex (served by the Midhurst transmitter region) which is in the BBC Southampton area.

The Hannington transmitter area - the M3/M4 corridor area also known as the Thames Valley, joins with Oxfordshire on ITV to form a TWO MINUTE opt-out from an ITV programme that covers the same as BBC Southampton (minus Brighton and Midhurst).

So, in Oxfordshire you get 15 minutes from the BBC and 2 minutes covering a larger area from ITV. It is notable that the current situation, where the Oxford transmitter doesn't provide a full opt-out is actually breaking the licence condition.

Note that, technically the Oxford transmitter remains part of the ITV Central region. ITV Sales still use "Central South" to describe the Ridge Hill and Oxford transmitter areas.

Super served? Ridge Hill

For historical reasons, if you are served directly by the Ridge Hill transmitter, you have an extra ITV broadcast to you. You don't just get ITV Central West, but also ITV West Country East. No such choice is provided by the BBC on Freeview.

Regions by population

It is probably worth remembering in the UK, most of the population lives in the urban areas, with rural areas having very low population density. This diagram shows the relative population sizes of the BBC nations and regions:

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Monday, 16 July 2018
Donald MacLeod
8:57 PM

I am confused
I watch STV on freeview 103 and I get news from Glasgow but if I tune to 003 I get news from Aberdeen
Why is this as I thought 103 was just the same except in HD but?

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Donald MacLeod's 3 posts GB flag

11:08 PM

Donald MacLeod: STV have only made the Glasgow version available in HD.

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StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
Douglas Burgneay
2:03 PM

Following the retune I cannot get BBclondon SE from BluebellHill. Is there any way I can?

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Douglas Burgneay's 1 post GB flag

3:02 PM

Douglas Burgneay: Bluebell Hill broadcasts BBC South East regional news. You must have been picking up London region from another transmitter. Please provide a full postcode so that we can see which transmitters are available at your postcode, where you are in relation to them and your predicted coverage etc.

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StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Monday, 26 November 2018
Peter Trayte
7:37 PM

I live in Maidenhead. Receiving from the C.P. Transmitter. We used to receive the BBC London news and the BBC South news sadly, the south news has now appears to have stopped it did cover our area. BBC London news does not cover this area at all. Could the BBC South be included from the C.P. transmitter again?

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Peter Trayte's 5 posts GB flag

9:58 PM

Peter Trayte:

You will need to ask Arqiva and the BBC. Arqiva operate the transmitters and arrange the transmissions, The BBC would have to pay for BBC South to be transmitted from Crystal Palace. I would have thought that BBC South would not have been available from Crystal Palace but it is available from Hannington, so were you really getting it from Crystal Palace? Or from Hannington?

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Monday, 3 December 2018
Peter Trayte
11:48 AM


Thanks Mike I will ask Arqiva. I suspect it was a cost cutting exercise by the BBC then!.
Pete T.

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Peter Trayte's 5 posts GB flag

12:24 PM

Peter Trayte: Crystal Palace has only ever broadcast BBC and ITV London news. You must have been picking up BBC South from another transmitter.

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StevensOnln1's 3,639 posts GB flag
Saturday, 4 December 2021
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