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ITV set to close rolling news channel ITV News

LONDON – ITV has announced it is to close its ITV News Channel after a cut in its Freeview hours and a review into the future of the broadcaster's overall news output.

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ITV said said the closure came as part of a strategic review of the network's news services to evaluate the future requirements for ITV news up to 2010 and beyond.

*It is understood that Clive Jones, the ITV chief executive of nations, regions and news as well as ITN chief executive Mark Woods told staff at the channel of the decision this morning. It is thought that around 25 posts may go.

*ITV says that the closure of the channel after five years of operation will free up around £2m, which will be ploughed into bolstering news programming across its other channels.

*Jones said: "News remains at the heart of ITV's public service commitment which is why we need to safeguard its future health. By reinvesting this money in the flagship news shows and exploring new media opportunities we will guarantee that ITV News stays powerful and relevant in the digital age."

This will include introducing bulletins to ITV2 and ITV3, setting up a news bureau in Beijing, improving news programming in the north of England and Scotland, investing in new technology and the creation of a breaking news team for major incidents.

*The decision follows a review of the news services and also comes after a cutting of its Freeview hours to make way for the launch of an ITV children's channel in February.

Simon Shaps, director of television for ITV, said: "The question we have asked ourselves is what does news look like in five or ten years' time? 

"The answer is that it looks very different from the traditional 24-hour rolling news format that we are used to now. Increasingly, viewers will want news on demand via a variety of different platforms and we are investing in the technology and expertise to deliver that."

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