Time series analysis of ITV news bulletins

Back in the summer I wrote a post looking at the relationship between the discourse structure and the formal structure of BBC news bulletins (see here). This week I have the first draft of a similar paper looking at news bulletins from ITV.

The pdf file can be accessed here: Nick Redfern – Time series analysis of ITV news bulletins


We analyze shot length data from the three main daily news bulletins broadcast on ITV 1 from 8 August 2011 to 12 August 2011, inclusive. In particular, we are interested to compare the distribution of shot lengths of bulletins broadcast on different days and at different times across this time period, and to examine the time series structure by identifying clusters of shots of shorter and longer duration in order to understand the relationship between this aspect of the formal structure to the discourse structure of these broadcasts. The discourse structure of the bulletins in this sample is fixed, and remains constant irrespective of the subject of news items themselves suggesting that content is adapted to meet the needs of this structure. The statistical results show that neither the day nor the time of broadcast has any impact on the distribution of shot lengths, and the editing style is consistent across the whole sample. There is no common pattern to the time series of these bulletins, but there are some consistent features in the time series for these bulletins: clusters of longer takes are associated with static shots of people talking on-screen, while clusters of shorter takes occur with montage sequences, sports reports, series of news items, and footage from non-ITN sources. Consequently, the presence and order of discourse elements in a bulletin shapes its formal structure.

The data for the bulletins used in this study can be accessed as an Excel 2007 file here: Nick Redfern – ITV News Bulletins

I’m a little wary of making direct comparisons between this data and that of the BBC news bulletins as they are separated by three months and deal with news presentation in very different circumstances. The data used in the ITV study covers the week of the riots in the UK this August, and this presents a very different news cycle to that seen in the BBC data from April. However, some general points can be made:

  • In both samples clusters of longer shots are associated with people speaking at length on camera, and these shots are framed in the same way.
  • In both samples clusters of shorter shots are often associated with montage sequences accompanied by a description from an off-screen reporter or with footage that is derived from other sources (e.g. library footage, other broadcasters).
  • In both samples, there is no evidence of any trends or cycles in the time series.
  • There is no significant difference in the median shot lengths and dispersion of shot lengths in the two samples of bulletins (BUT remember these are from different times of the year, so this information is only of limited use).
  • Day and time of broadcast have no impact on news bulletins for either broadcaster (but again the comparison is not as direct as I would like).

Overall, there is some evidence that news bulletins are stylistically homogenous across these broadcasters. I will do another study looking at the comparing the bulletins from the both the BBC and ITV from a single week, but this will have to wait for another day.

About Nick Redfern

I am an independent academic with over 15 years experience teaching film in higher education in the UK. I have taught film analysis, film industries, film theories, film history, science fiction at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Central Lancashire, and Leeds Trinity University, where I was programme leader for film from 2016 to 2020. My research interests include computational film analysis, horror cinema, sound design, science fiction, film trailers, British cinema, and regional film cultures.

Posted on November 17, 2011, in Cinemetrics, Film Analysis, Film Studies, Film Style, News, Television, Time Series Analysis and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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