The move paves the way for ITV1 to remain as a public service broadcaster on Channel 3 for the next decade.
ITV has today confirmed that it has applied to Ofcom to begin the process of renewing the Channel 3 nations and regions licences in England, Border Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as applying to renew the national Channel 3 breakfast licence.
Broadcasters were given until the end of April to submit their applications.
ITV’s investment in high quality original UK programming and in news and current affairs programming, especially in the nations and regions, was noted by the Secretary of State as important for viewers, and for creating jobs and contributing to the UK production sector.
Ahead of the renewal process, ITV had been sabre-rattling. In December, it threatened to drop its commitment to news unless the Government offered greater protection against streaming companies.
Recognising the publication of the draft Media Bill as a major step forward towards creating a modern and future facing policy and regulatory regime for TV (and PSB in particular) in the UK, and the support of the major political parties to drive the Bill forward in Parliament, ITV now says it “has the confidence to apply for renewal of the Channel 3 licences”.
The current Channel 3 broadcast licences expire at the end of next year.
Under the proposals outlined in the Media Bill, some quotas that now apply to ITV1, STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5’s main linear channels can now be applied online. For example, children’s programmes would not have to be shown on a main channel, if they are shown online instead. The broadcaster could still meet its quota.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s Chief Executive said:
“The new framework in the draft Media Bill will be fundamental to ITV’s future as a PSB. ITV is confident that the proposed reforms will give us the certainty to commit to renewing our Channel 3 licence in 2024 and to continue to deliver our public service provisions for a further 10 years and we would ask the government to urgently make available Parliamentary time for the legislation to be passed.”