As reported on our Twitter feed last night, a source on the TV Forum website has stated that ITV is planning to implement a presentation refresh of their main channel in January. The claims have been supported by others on social media. There has been no official confirmation from ITV.
The TV Forum source stated that the main ITV logo would be tweaked, taking on a “cut out” look. An ident refresh would also be implemented (codenamed Project 52). In terms of what form the idents would take, the source likened them to the BBC Two Lambie-Nairn era. Another source commented: “Think abstract”. End credit promotion graphics are also apparently being updated, to a ‘layered’ style. Programme promotional material will also include programme branding, alongside the appropriate ITV channel logo. The ITV Hub ‘Ferris Wheel’ identity is being dropped and that logo will be brought in line with the rest of the ITV family of logos.
It is unclear what impact these changes will have on UTV. If the new ITV channel logo is a fundamental part of the new idents – rather than a simple overlay – then this may complicate things where UTV is concerned. It may not be possible to adapt the idents for UTV. This presentation refresh may well prove to be the point at which the UTV brand becomes confined to regional news output, as it has in some English regions (and disappeared completely from the remaining ITV plc-owned regions). Come January, UTV viewers could be seeing ITV continuity links from London, replacing long-standing local announcers Gillian Porter and Julian Simmons. However, this is all purely speculative.
From a branding perspective, there’s an interesting interview with ITV’s CEO Carolyn McCall here: https://rts.org.uk/article/itv-ceo-carolyn-mccall-talks-creativity-and-brand. It’s clear from the discussion that Carolyn is big on branding. That considered, her reference to ‘ITV 1’, eleven minutes in, is rather curious. Apparently, this is how ITV staff refer to the main channel internally. The ‘1’ was of course dropped in early 2013, following audience research which found that most viewers continued to refer to the channel as ‘ITV’. But, hard to deny that it looks a little odd, sitting alongside a range of numbered channels. And many journalists continue to reference ‘ITV 1’ in their articles. ‘ITV’ can come across as a little ambiguous – after all, a range of ITV-branded channels are available; and the term ‘ITV’ is also often used to refer to the company/corporate group. It’s a bit like saying a programme is on ‘the BBC’. There’s no suggestion though that ITV 1 branding is about to make a comeback (in January). But, if ITV feels the need to reference the channel as ITV 1 in-house, I have no doubt that the external branding of the channel will come up again at some point.
And re the UTV brand, Carolyn doesn’t strike me as a fan of sub-brands that only serve to mask a master brand. Since October 2016, UTV has looked like ITV in all but name (but even its updated logo features the distinctive ‘tv’ lettering from the ITV corporate logo). Could this merely have been a transition period, with the end goal being a switch to full ITV branding? We’ll find out soon.