Plans to partially merge ITV's Central Tonight news programme with its East Midlands counterpart could drive viewers away, a media expert has warned.
James Clancy, media analyst at Midland media company mediafuturesalerts.com, said ITV might be in danger of driving viewers to other media by covering too wide a geographical area.
The broadcaster caused controversy in September when it announced plans for a single regional news programme covering the Midlands, sparking fears of job losses.
But it has since partially backtracked, announcing a revised proposal which will still see the West Midlands news region merged with its East Midlands neighbour.
The 17 national regions will be cut to nine, but 18 new sub-regions will be brought in – Central West and Central East will be two subregions in the Central area.
Viewers in the East and West Midlands will be watching the same news broadcasts, interspersed with tailored news from each sub-region.
Despite criticism it represented a dilution of local news, ITV said the changes were necessary to maintain properly resourced high quality regional news.
However, Mr Clancy said viewers would be alienated. He said: "People identify with small regions. The more they have to cast their eye over a wider view, the less they identify. If people are not being served by local news services, they will drift to customised news on the internet for example."
The broadcaster is still waiting for approval for its plans from Ofcom.