In the cut-throat world of TV ratings, the new +1 channel would provide a quick and easy way to boost audiences at little extra cost. But the channel's launch was less than quick and easy. Originally due to launch in October 2009, ITV pulled the plug just under two weeks before the planned launch.
The launch was hampered by concerns over the "Contract Rights Renewal" mechanism, a control that was put in place to protect media buyers from ITV's then dominant position in the UK's commercial TV market following the merger of Carlton and Granada to form ITV plc.
Even Ofcom acknowledged that the Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) remedy was acting as a disincentive for ITV plc to launch HD and +1 channels, but the Competition Commission decided to retain CRR, leading to ITV's announcement to defer ITV(1)+1.
Despite the retention of the 'CRR', ITV went ahead with plans for ITV(1)+1, finally launching on 11th January 2011 on all digital TV platforms.
STV and UTV launched timeshift versions of their Channel 3 services on the same day, but these are not carried on satellite.
Only the main ITV regions were represented on the timeshift service in 2011, leaving viewers annoyed at the lack of regional news for their area. In time, additional ITV regions were added, but numerous sub-regions, plus ITV Border remain without their own +1 variant.
Since its launch, ITV+1 has become an unlikely source of schadenfreude :
|+1 channels are not on the curriculum at Wellingborough High School for Girls|
Every morning brings a new batch of viewers convinced that ITV has got the time wrong on its breakfast television service.
The complaints to ITV about the 'wrong clock' on social media even spawned a twitter account: originally known as "Daybreak Dimwits", Good Morning Morons (@goodmornmorons) exposes those viewers who are clueless of the fact that they are watching ITV+1.
After 4 years, perhaps the +1 circle needs to grow to the size of the one on ITVBe+1. Or even bigger. But then where would Twitter users get their daily schadenfreude from?