By Hamish Mackay
Scottish Media Group is to rebrand Scottish Television and Grampian Television under one corporate identity – STV.
The new joint identity will be launched later this year but both television stations will continue to be run separately with Scottish TV continuing to operate from Glasgow and Grampian in Aberdeen.
The names of flagship news programmes Scotland Today and North Tonight will also be retained.
The move mirrors changes in commercial television in England where 11 separate ITV regions now use the ITV name. Scottish, Grampian, Ulster and Channel TV all remain outide the ownership of ITV Scottish TV and Grampian TV will continue to develop their plans for more localised news services for the East and West regions covered by Scotland Today, and the North and South regions covered by North Tonight.
The two stations already have a unified schedule in terms of non-news programming – allowing viewers across Scotland to view productions coming out of both regions.
An SMG spokeswoman said today: ²The re-branding exercise follows the review of Public Service Broadcasting and paves the way for SMG Television¹s development of a new e-commerce strategy that looks at potential opportunities via internet, mobile and new platforms, providing added value content for viewers and commercial opportunities for the company.² Bobby Hain, managing director of Broadcasting SMG Television, said: ³We are creating a broadcasting business for Scotland, which is a very exciting prospect for both us and our viewers. The television landscape is changing and it is essential that we adapt to effectively compete in an increasingly multi-channel environment. This is the right time to do this as we come out of the PSB review and move forward to digital switchover in 2010.² The change will mean an end to the distinctive identities of Scottish – launched in 1957 with a thistle as its emblem, and Grampian, which began in 1961, with a saltire logo.
The change will have no impact on jobs. SMG recently announced plans to cut 55 staff – attributing the cuts to a reduction in the amount of news and regional programming it is required to make and the introduction of new technology at its £30m headquarters at Pacific Quay, Glasgow which it will move into this summer.
Talks are still ongoing with the unions but it seems that only 11 journalistic jobs will go through voluntary redundancy rather than the 14 initially sought by SMG.
Scottish TV and Grampian TV hold separate broadcast licences and the obligations of each licence will be unaffected.