Granada Reports is officially relaunched on Monday as the regional news programme for the North West battles to arrest a decline in viewing figures.
According to controller of programmes Kieron Collins, Granada Television has “taken the programme apart and put it back together again”.
“We’ve looked at every aspect of the programme, at what works and what doesn’t work and been informed by a lot of qualitative research. What we are trying to do with our relaunch is get back to basics – back to what the programme should be, which is a regional news magazine programme that incorporates both news and features.
“It’s not a straight hard agenda and it’s not endless, soft, skateboarding dog items. It’s a mixture of items for a very diverse region,” Collins said.
He added that Granada Reports needed more live and feature items. “We haven’t been out and about in the region as much as we need to. Fundamentally, viewers want to see their own locations on screen and that’s perfectly understandable.”
The final stage in the programme’s rejuvenation comes after splitting the news and current affairs editorship and the subsequent appointment of Cerys Griffiths as news editor. She was previously acting news editor. Former BBC presenter Tony Morris takes over as co-anchor – with Lucy Meacock – following the departure of Tony Wilson.
The bulletin has a new set, titles and graphics.
Granada has launched a large-scale poster campaign around the region to publicise the programme.
Collins conceded that the recent performance of Granada Reports “hasn’t been as good as we want it to be. There have been too many changes and not all of them for the right reasons or generating the kind of benefits that we would have liked.”
“Also, we’ve tended to stay in our studio too long, so we’re trying to change that. There used to be a very strong bond between regional news viewers and their regular news programme and that bond – if it hasn’t broken – has certainly been stretched beyond belief. We’ve lost a lot of traditional ITV viewers who frankly got frustrated by not quite knowing what the programme was.”
He refused to reveal the cost of the relaunch but said: “I’ve had as much as I need to make the changes I want. This scale of relaunch doesn’t come cheap.”
By Wale Azeez