Why ITV Is Unlikely To Fill TV's Void As 'Bake Off' Heads To C4

Take a look at what's popular on television in the UK and it's a pretty depressing sight for advertising executives. Of the 11 top slots for audiences across the year, ten were taken up by the ever-wonderful "Great British Bake Off" from the BBC. The only other show to break in to the Top 10 was the beeb's "Planet Earth II," narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough. Then when you look at the show that made it in to the Top 40 the most times, we have another BBC hit show, "Strictly Come Dancing," with 13 appearances.

As for the big ITV shows, "Britain's Got Talent" gets in the Barb Top 40 a handful of times, but "The X Factor" failed to make the charts for a single episode for the second year running. ITV has worked on its own figures, which boost the chart position of its Euro 2016 coverage, but this is only achieved when the pre- and post- match time frame is ignored. Unfortunately for ITV, that means ignoring the audience advertisers would have been trying to reach and including the audience at half-time when viewing figures are diminished as sports fans leave the sofa to go to the loo and grab a drink or snack.

There are two elephants in the room here. There is no major sporting event in the summer of 2017 -- certainly nothing on the scale of a Euro of World Cup football finals. So there's no sports ace up ITV's sleeve to play next year. Then, there's the "Great British Bake Off." It moves to Channel 4 in 2017, but with just one of its four key presenters. So loyalty among fans is not guaranteed, particularly with the much-loved Mary Berry working on new BBC baking shows.

This effectively means that in the absence of England "stars" underperforming in the next football tournament, commercial television's big shot is for the famous baking show to hold its allure on Channel 4, despite losing most of its big names, or for the void it leaves in the Top 10 to be filled by ITV stalwarts. However, other than "Britain's Got Talent," the omens are not looking good as "The X Factor" is rolled out again with the possibility of missing out on a single Top 40 spot for the third year running. ITV has signed deals with Simon Cowell and Ant and Dec, and so it's clear what we have been served up before is pretty much what will be served up again in 2017.

So it's hard to call. We'll either have a repeat of 2016, only it will be Channel 4 dominating the Top 10 with perfect buns and "soggy bottoms." Or the Top 10 will be dominated by other shows. What's clear, however, is that ITV needs to be holding an ace under the table. The shows it has committed to have been blown out of the water by BBC's cooking and dancing productions. There are endless soaps that will keep revenue coming in -- but it's hard to see what ITV has to challenge the dominance of the BBC.

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