Television touches the daily lives of almost everyone in the UK. The way we produce and schedule programmes is central to being a responsible broadcaster.
We have identified four fundamental pillars of responsible broadcasting..
First, we work hard to ensure that we comply with all regulatory requirements.
Second, we recognise that we have a significant opportunity to reach into people's homes and, via our programmes, address difficult social issues and keep viewers informed about events that may affect them.
Third, we must ensure that the programmes we broadcast reflect the UK's diversity, with honest and accurate portrayals of people in minority groups that avoid stereotypes.
Finally, we must work to make our programmes accessible to everyone who wants to watch them.
- Programme standards
- Reflecting social issues
- Diversity on screen
- Access to programmes
- Responsible advertising
We aim to create engaging, exciting and sometimes challenging content, whilst ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place to protect viewers. We have rigorous procedures to ensure our programming, on air and online, is of the highest standard and complies with regulatory requirements.
In the UK, television programme content is regulated by the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. This covers the protection of under-18s, harm and offence, crime, religion, due impartiality and accuracy, elections and referendums, fairness, privacy, and commercial references. Ofcom's revised Broadcasting Code came into effect in February 2011, and now includes principles and rules on product placement in programmes.
Ofcom also requires us to broadcast specific quotas of certain types of programme (such as news and current affairs), and to provide access services aimed at people with reduced vision and hearing.
ITV is committed to complying with all Ofcom's requirements. For example, we ensure that programmes are appropriately scheduled and observe the 9pm watershed. We minimise the risk of offence by alerting viewers before a programme if, for example, it contains strong language, scenes of a sexual nature, or violent conduct.
Ensuring on air compliance
Our compliance department works closely with our programme commissioners and producers from the very start of the production process, to ensure programmes comply with the Code.
Members of the department review all pre-recorded programmes before their first broadcast, and are involved in the planning and conduct of live programming. They also oversee our online and video on demand content standards (see below).
Our compliance team provide compliance training for all employees involved in programming and interactive services, with online courses and a rolling programme of seminars.
Interactive content and voting
We offer a variety of opportunities for viewers and visitors to itv.com to interact with programmes and online content. For example, we invite live voting in shows such as The X Factor and Dancing on Ice, and run viewer competitions that generate tens of millions of responses annually. This interactivity introduces compliance challenges. We work with programme makers to ensure interactive content shown on ITV and ITV.com is compliant, transparent, and managed fairly.
Each event goes through a number of approval, testing and checking stages, from initial planning through to transmission, and in relation to any post-transmission requirements (for example delivery of prizes to competition winners). Our performance is subject to third party verification as a condition of our broadcast licence from Ofcom.
Our in-house customer support team oversees all complaints and questions about ITV interactivity. Should any issues arise, detailed procedures are in place to communicate with affected viewers and offer refunds if appropriate.
We are growing our online business, which includes video on demand content.
Video on demand content is co-regulated by ATVOD and Ofcom. Our compliance team manages both on air and on demand programme standards.
- A G (for guidance) symbol that, where appropriate, appears as users move the mouse over an on demand programme's icon, with advice such as "this programme contains strong language"
- A PIN access control system that allows parents to control childrens' access to on demand programmes.
Viewer feedback is also important to us and we continually listen to what our viewers tell us about our programmes. This is done both through our Vision Panel and through feedback received through Viewer Services. The ITV Vision Panel is made up of 8,000 adult viewers who respond to an online survey about our programmes, with around a third responding every day. ITV's Viewer Services deals with comments and complaints from viewers.
Viewer feedback is taken seriously by the programme teams and is made available to all staff via the ITV intranet so that the whole company is able to see how viewers have reacted to programmes. Feedback from both the Vision Panel and Viewer Services helps inform the commissioning and production process.
Reflecting social issues
ITV's primary goal is to entertain. At the same time, our programmes tackle important social issues and stimulate debate.
ITV Drama and serial dramas reach millions of viewers. Storylines often reflect important social issues that affect people every day, such as illness, prejudice or addiction.
Writers carefully research each storyline and character to ensure they accurately reflect the realities that people face. We often work with charities that provide specialist advice to ensure social issues are portrayed in a realistic and convincing way.
For example, Emmerdale writers and producers have worked extensively with Brain Trust and the Meg Jones Brain Cancer Charity, to carefully plot and script Brenda's brain tumour storyline. The research team, along with Brain Trust's experts, took a lot of time and care to look closely at scripts and scenes to help the writers encapsulate the emotional and medical depth of such a difficult and poignant story.
Coronation Street also produced a storyline around character Paul Kershaw, exploring issues around caring for a dependent, as he dealt with his wife's Alzheimer's condition.
Working closely with The Alzheimer's Society, the producers, writers and cast gained information to be able to tackle this sensitive storyline. The programme has since received lots of praise from viewers who are carers, and the way the story was approached from the carer's perspective and the sadness for the relationship he is losing with his wife.
When a particular issue features prominently in an episode, ITV display a charity helpline number at the end of the programme which viewers can call to find out more about the issues raised or to seek support. These help lines can receive a high volume of calls after the episode is aired and ITV often provides financial support to help the charities recruit more call centre operatives to handle this increase.
We also provide extended support online and information of organisations through our Further Support section.
Our daytime formats enable daytime programmes such as Daybreak, This Morning, Loose Women and Jeremy Kyle, to raise awareness of social issues that impact our society. From debating the current affairs topic of the day to generating awareness around a specific topic or issue the public may not be aware of, our presenters with the help of experts tackle these issues in an informative way, using real people's stories.
Our specific campaigns often coincide with awareness weeks or memorable dates. For example, in 2012 Daybreak ran a campaign to coincide with Down Syndrome week Daybreak. The campaign highlighted the benefits of offering jobs to people with Downs. The programme received a very positive reaction from families that could relate to the stories and employers, including one viewer who contacted us to say as a result of watching our broadcast, she had decided to sign up to the scheme offering employment to people with Downs. As a result she now employs 3 Downs adults in 3 of her hairdressing salons, and plans to roll out the programme to the other salons in the near future.
News and current affairs
One of ITV's prime duties as a licensed broadcaster is to provide our audience with authoritative and accurate News and Current Affairs programming throughout the week; both in peak time and in other parts of the schedule. In all of our News and Current Affairs programming we strive for impartial and engaging reporting from correspondents; throughout the UK and across the world. Bringing viewers clear and up-to-the-minute accounts of the stories and issues that impacts viewers most.
We are committed to the highest editorial and ethical standards, as well as the absolute need for accuracy we demand fairness, balance and impartiality in all of our journalism.
ITV's Network News is on the air from 6.00am each weekday morning in
Daybreak with full programmes at lunchtime, in the early evening, at 10pm and with bulletins across the weekend. Every day we reach an average of more than 7 million viewers with comprehensive coverage coverage from around Britain and the world.
As well as the network newsroom in central London there is also a dedicated parliamentary unit based at Westminster. This specialist insight informs the way we can report current stories and gives ITV News real authority on breaking stories; such as the horse meat scandal and the Parliament's proposals on press regulation. It enables us to analyse events in a way that gives them real relevance to our audience. This along with ITV's popular team of news presenters provides depth and authority on set-piece broadcasts such as those on Budget Day or General Election Night as well as Royal and State occasions.
Network news output is also supported by more than 150 regional correspondents - each equipped with cameras and laptops to enable them to edit on location - and a fleet of satellite news gathering vehicles enabling ITV to report live from almost anywhere in the UK.
Overseas ITV News has bureaux and correspondents in Washington, Brussels, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg and Beijing as well as a correspondent in Rio de Janeiro. Equipped in this way ITV News can report swiftly, clearly and vividly on the major breaking international stories as it has done in 2013 on everything from the Syrian hostage crisis, to the Pistorius case and the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
ITV Network News' was recognised with the 2013 Royal Television Society News Coverage award for its work on the Jimmy Savile, following the story being broken by ITV's current affairs programme, Exposure.
In 2012 ITV's News Website relaunched. This has brought a new dimension to ITV News's coverage and offered something new to its audience and users. The live stream of news content -
www.itv.com/news is constantly updated by dedicated staff in the London newsroom and by journalists in the ITV regions, Wales and the Channel Islands.
In January 2013 the site broke its own traffic records with 3.9m unique browsers which represented a 518% increase year on year. Across the first two months of 2013 ITV News on-line has increased its traffic six fold with weekly unique browsers up to an average of 860,000.
Browsers accessing the site from tablets and mobiles has also grown significantly since launch. At the start of 2013 around 48% of all unique browsers each week are coming from mobile devices and tablets. This means that ITV is now able to provide a comprehensive 24-hour news service which not only aggregates material but which provides a rapid outlet for the newsgathering of our teams throughout the world.
Beyond the network, ITV News has correspondents spread across England, Wales and the Channel Islands with news production teams working from 10 news centres across England, southern Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands and a further 29 news gathering bureau across our licence areas.
In 2013 ITV intends to intensify the regionality of its coverage by providing more dedicated programming for many parts of England and the Scottish Borders.
A defining characteristic of ITV's regional news is its sense of place and the close connections its correspondents build with the regions they serve. This closeness, this deep knowledge and understanding of the areas in which they are based enables them to report not only with fairness and accuracy but also with depth, with precision and often a warmth which signifies the connection with and commitment to the region.
Experience and skill built up over many years, coupled with the latest news gathering technology, enables us to reach a variety of locations and report on a range of stories with a familiarity and vitality. It allows us to cover stories and issues that might be missed elsewhere but which are of great importance to the individual regions we cover.
In the last 12 months the ITV regions have covered everything from dramatic floods in the North East, to the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report in the Granada area and major industrial stories in the West Midlands.
The regions were also there to give a deeply localised view of some of the big events of the day. The Olympic torch relay was given sharper focus for millions of viewers with our day to day regionalised coverage. In the Games themselves and the later Paralympics the ITV regions not only joined viewers with major national occasions but also took the time to mark celebrate and enjoy the many victories of our regional participants.
There were also a number of cross initiatives between the regions and ITV Network News, most notably the establishment of the ITV Business Club. As a way of tracking the big economic stories of the day the regions each set up their own 'business clubs' bringing together some of the big commercial and industrial players in each region.
The Royal Television Society recognised the success of ITV's regional news in 2013 by presenting the Best Regional News Programme award to ITV London. It is the seventh consecutive year that an ITV region has won this particular award.
ITV's current affairs appears across the schedule with a significant amount available to peak time audiences.
At the heart of the output sit the cores strands of Tonight, The Agenda and Exposure.
The weekly Tonight provides analysis on commentary on the events, issues and stories that are closest to our audience. With a strong domestic focus and with input from ITV's network and regional news, Tonight can stay close to our audience so that it is in touch with the things that matter most. In 2013 it has touched on the amounts of food wasted in Britain's kitchens, personal savings, organ donation, part-time working and the future for Prince Harry.
Introduced in 2012, The Agenda, is a weekly topical discussion programme providing lively, informed and often controversial debate on key issues of the day in politics, the arts and social affairs. Its purpose is to provide the audience with commentary and reflection from a range of voices to help viewers develop and sometimes challenge their own thoughts and feelings about the issues of the day. Its panel is always an intriguing mix of politicians and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines. For more information on The Agenda please click here.
The third element in this set of core strands is the investigative programme Exposure. The second series aired in 2012 and within it was the programme The Other Side of Jimmy Savile. The series demonstrated thoughtful, serious and in-depth journalism, the series as a whole demonstrates ITV's commitment to journalism that confront issues of the moment and makes it available to the widest possible audience.
In addition to these three strands ITV each year commissions a significant number of short series and one-off programmes that either capture and respond to a current theme or story or which highlight and reflect upon some of the wider issues of the time.
Diversity on screen
Portraying social diversity on screen keeps our programmes relevant by ensuring they appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Diversity helps to promote understanding around culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious belief and family portrayal.
ITV is a member of the Creative Diversity Network (CDN), of which ITV's Chief Executive, Adam Crozier is now chair.
The CDN's role is to bring together organisations [who employ and/or make programmes], across the UK television industry to promote, celebrate and share good practice around the diversity agenda. In addition to chairing the CDN, we have signed up to its Diversity Pledge. This is a public commitment to improve the representation of society on screen and to become more diverse and inclusive behind the scenes. We have most control over the programmes we make ourselves, but are also looking at how to increase diversity in commissioned content.
We use a system to track the diversity of main, secondary and background characters, allows us to identify where our programmes reflect society and where we need to make changes. Unfortunately it is not perfect, as it only monitors 'visible diversity' and so does not always capture non-visible diversity such as sexuality and some disabilities.
We also make changes to on screen diversity based on information we receive from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) about viewer diversity. This information tells us whether our programmes are appealing to a diverse audience, and flags up areas where we could be more inclusive. ITV is the first broadcaster to use audience information in this way and our Diversity team meet at least quarterly with senior programme makers and commissioners to share this information and agree on actions going forward.
Although we have been tracking and monitoring data for a number of years, our formal review process with senior programme makers and commissioners was implemented towards the end of 2011. This was a direct response to a business objective to maximise our audiences, as part of our diversity objectives to work towards a more consistent approach to inclusive programming across genres, by identifying programming with low minority representation, to try and avoid future occurrences that generate a negative portrayal of ITV around this agenda.
The information below gives an overview of some of our best practice and progress across our programming genres.
Drama, entertainment and factual programmes
ITV's Continuing Dramas feature diverse characters and storylines and our reality shows include contestants from diverse backgrounds, and our daytime and factual programmes highlight and tackle social issues affecting minority groups.
We aim to authentically represent ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender, family portrayal and age through our characters and programme participants.Coronation Street and Emmerdale work hard to portray diversity authentically.Coronation Street's character Izzy Armstrong, played by Cherylee Houston, has become a long running cast member and her disability is part of her identity rather than the driver for her storylines. This is the approach we are taking with all areas of diversity - aiming for authentic portrayal rather than sensationalising diversity through big storylines.
Take a look at our behind the scenes video to find out how we achieve this.
We aim to ensure our experts and contributors represent a wide cross-section of our community. Our diversity champions and diversity team are on hand to provide access to networks, contributors, talent and best practice, which has resulted in our editorial teams becoming more accurate in their portrayal and authentically integrating diversity into storylines.
This Morning won the National Television Awards in 2013, for the best Daytime programme for 3 consecutive years in a row. The programme has worked to be more reflective and inclusive in their content. By using diverse models, storylines and contributors, their award is evidence of the steps they are making to become more inclusive and as a result, this has contributed to an increase in diverse audiences.
Across our other genres onscreen diversity has increased too, within entertainment The Cube had a 50% cast from an ethnic minority background along with Totally Bonkers which had 63%, Drama has also had an amazing year with Scott and Bailey which had 35.6% ethnic minority representation.
Our responsibility extends further than the programmes we make for our own family of channels. Our production company '12 Yard' makes In it to win it and Eggheads for the BBC, they strive to ensure contestants are diverse. Also programmes like Come Dine with Me which we make for Channel 4 are inclusive and represent the makeup of our society, raising awareness around different cultures in an interesting way.
We are committed to increasing the diversity of news journalists and covering news stories that are relevant to people from all backgrounds. Together these help us to engage a wider range of viewers with current affairs.
ITN and each ITV regional news teams have bespoke Diversity Action Plans to increase minority representation. In ITV newsrooms across the country, we have also established Diversity Panels that meet quarterly with minority community representatives to discuss on-screen portrayal, exchange story ideas and obtain feedback on news programme content.
ITV News Group's Diversity Manager is responsible for championing diversity issues within and on behalf of the company. The Group's senior management monitors news output to check for sufficient diversity representation, and that stereotyping of minority groups does not occur.
Access to programmes
We want everyone to be able to enjoy programmes shown on ITV, including viewers with vision or hearing impairments. To increase access to the programmes we broadcast, we provide substantial levels of subtitling, signing and audio description.
Our goal is to meet and, where possible, exceed the access services targets set annually by the regulator, Ofcom. Our driver for achieving these targets is beyond meeting our regulatory requirements. We spend a great deal of time and resources on our access service and want to make the best possible choices for our viewers. In 2011 we exceeded Ofcom's targets in all cases. Each ITV channel has its own access services policy, tailored to suit its specific audience profile.
We maintain regular dialogue with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Action on Hearing Loss (formerly the RNID) to benefit from their research and to obtain feedback from their members about the access services we provide.
Improving access for viewers who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment
Almost all programmes (90%) shown on ITV1 carry subtitles.
We have substantially increased the amount of subtitling on our digital channels, particularly on ITV3 (94% against Ofcom's target of 70%) which tends to have a more mature audience. We subtitle a vast majority of our peak time digital programming, including programmes shown on digital channels that are associated with flagship ITV1 shows - such as The Xtra Factor on ITV2. Subtitles are now also available on the ITV1 HD channel and online for many programmes shown on ITV Player.
We also provide visual signing in accordance with Ofcom's code for the provision of this service. On average, 5% of programmes across our channels are translated into British Sign Language, as well as extra drama programming on ITV3, and our children's channel, CiTV meets it's regulatory requirements by providing sign-presented children's programming, SignedStories, produced by SignPost.
SignPost is our award-winning in-house signing facility and as well as providing sign translated programming for our channels, the team carry out significant community services for deaf and hard of hearing people. Visit our Community and giving section to find our more about SignPost's activities and its award-winning SignedStories website.
Improving access for viewers who are blind or partially-sighted
Audio description is a spoken word commentary that describes what is happening on screen. To make the programmes we broadcast accessible for people who are visually impaired, we provide this service for many of the drama series and films shown on ITV, especially at peak time. We are careful to choose the programmes we think will be most enjoyed by the blind and partially sighted.
Ofcom's target is 10%, though we aim to audio describe over 20% of programmes on all channels - an RNIB target.
The RNIB, has applauded the work that ITV has done to deliver and broadcast more programmes with audio description than many other UK broadcasters, saying that it "is of tremendous value to blind and partially sighted TV fans and can transform their ability to enjoy and understand TV programmes independently".
As part of our larger efforts to transform the ITV.com online and on demand user experience, we are exploring ways to ensure our content conforms with recognised accessibility standards across all platforms including web, mobile internet, tablet computers, and internet-enabled televisions. A working group has been set up within ITV to explore how we can progress accessibility across our new technology.
ITV have also requested the issue to be added to the discussions of the Creative Diversity Network
As part of our larger efforts to transform the ITV.com online and on demand user experience, we are exploring ways to ensure our content conforms with recognised accessibility standards across all platforms including web, mobile internet, tablet computers, and internet-enabled televisions. A working group has been set up within ITV to explore how we can progress accessibility across our new technology. ITV have also requested the issue to be added to the discussions of the Creative Diversity Network.
ITV relies on revenue from advertising - it enables us to provide premium original content, free to air.
To safeguard this vital source of income, it is essential that we protect the value of our airtime. Maintaining our viewers' trust in advertisements on all ITV platforms is an important factor in this.
Our viewers should be confident that the content of advertisements is accurate and does not cause unnecessary offence. It is also important to us that our audience finds the quantity and scheduling of advertisements acceptable and that they do not perceive any influence by advertisers on programme content.
Maintaining high advertising standards
We support high standards in all the advertising broadcast on ITV channels. We fully support the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) and the arrangements to assist advertisers in complying with it. The Code has detailed rules that require advertisements not to mislead, or cause serious or widespread offence.
ITV together with the other major commercial broadcasters established Clearcast, an independent company, in January 2008 to help advertisers ensure that their TV commercials comply with the BCAP Code.
Clearcast reviews scripts and storyboards for television adverts before they are filmed and provides pre-transmission clearance of finished commercials for the major UK broadcasters. The advertiser or advertising agency is alerted to any potential infringements of the Code and asked to substantiate any claims made about products or services. Particular attention is given to sensitive categories such as advertising appealing to children, and the advertising of alcohol, food and gambling.
For more information, visit www.clearcast.co.uk
The amount and distribution of advertising
The amount and frequency of advertising is regulated by Ofcom. Ofcom licences limit the amount of advertising ITV can broadcast up to seven minutes-per-hour averaged over a day. In any particular hour the precise amount may vary and during peak viewing times (6.00 pm to 11.00 pm) the average is eight minutes. ITV Digital Channels are permitted an average of 9 mins per hour over the broadcast day. The maximum amount of advertising allowed in any one hour of ITV and ITV Digital Channel programming is 12 minutes.
In 2010, Ofcom decided to lift the ban on product placement in the UK, active from 28th February 2011. On that day, ITV became the first British broadcaster to feature a product placed brand on a UK-made programme, when a Nescafé coffee machine appeared on the set of ITV's This Morning.
Product placement opens up an important new revenue stream that will help support investment in original UK content. We also believe that considered product placement will bring more realism to our programming, portraying a world that is recognisable and relevant. On most mainstream UK channels, audiences are already used to seeing product placement in acquired programming from abroad.
Ofcom regulates the use of product placement on UK broadcasting. It places restrictions on the types of products that can be placed, the types of programmes in which products can be placed, and limits on the way in which products can be seen and referred to in programmes.
For more information, visit www.ofcom.org.uk/productplacement
When programmes contain product placement, broadcasters must inform viewers by displaying a letter 'P' logo for three seconds at the start and end of the programme, and after any advertising breaks. ITV was involved in the creation of this logo.