It used to be composed of many small independent tv companies such as Yorkshire, Tyne Tees, Anglian etc. In recent years these have been swallowed up by Granada and Carlton to produce ITV plc which controls the vast bulk of the network.
Strangely, this has coincided with an increasing lack of originality in the programmes being commissioned and a drop-off in the number of viewers. The management of ITV plc do not believe these factors to be connected.
It is hard to believe when watching 'Jeremy Kyle' or 'Celebrity Fit Club' that this is the same network that created 'The World At War', 'Brideshead Revisited', 'Rising Damp' and 'World In Action'. The management of ITV plc strenuously deny any allegations of "dumbing down".