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Independent Television was set up under the Television Act (UK) 1954. A system developed wherby five programme contractors - Thames, Central, LWT, Granada, and Yorkshire - made the majority of the the programmes broadcast by the Independent Television Authority - later the IBA - on its Independent Television channel. Regional contractors, such as Ulster Television and Harlech Television, made programmes for broadcast in their respective regions.
The system underwent a radical reconstruction in 1993. The Authority was dissolved and replaced by the ITC. Programme contractors were replaced by Channel Three Licencees who were broadcasters in their own right. C3Ls were assigned on the basis of a so-called auction (of the licences that changed hands, only GMTV was the highest bidder - Carlton, Meridian, and Westcountry winning on the premise that the other companies had overbid). The ITV Network Centre was established to commission and schedule programmes on a national level for the ITV Network, as it was now known. During the nineties four major groups - Carlton, Granada, United, and SMG - assummed control of the majority of C3Ls. By 2000 this had been reduced to three - Carlton (London, Central, Westcountry, HTV), Granada (Lancashire, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees, London Weekend, Meridian, Border, and Anglia), and SMG (Scottish and Grampian) - the only independents are UTV and Channel Television. It was speculated that only one company would control all C3Ls and the ITV Network in the early 21st century.
In 2001, the
ITV Network Centre and ONdigital merged operations (the
companies remain legally
Channel 3 Licencees
UTV holds the Channel 3 Licence for Northern Ireland. It also broadcasts to most of the Republic of Ireland via cable and MMDS. It was set up as Ulster Television in 1958. Although it was linked to the Ulster Newsletter at various stages it has always remained fairly politcally imparital. Originally it targeted just the North but in the 1980s began a campaign to attract advertisers from the Republic, combined with lobbying of cable companies to have them switch region to Ulster (from HTV). This achieved, in January 1993 Six Tonight/Ulster Newsroom was relaunched as UTV Live, and in June 1993 Ulster Television became plain UTV. And proceeded to inflict the most annoying jingle in the world at viewers (although, to be fair, the new arrangement for 2000 isn't bad...) At the end of 2000 a new logo was seen on UTV for the first time since 1993. www.utvinternet.com
HTV Wales provides service in counties Wicklow, Waterford, and Wexford. It has been the ITV contractor/C3L since 1967 (originally Harlech TV). Originally carried by a large number of cable companies, including parts of Dublin. Only a few ex-CMI towns and Casey Cablevision now carry the service. In 1996 became part of United News and Media and in October 2000 became part of the Carlton Communications empire. www.htv.co.uk
GMTV Television provides the Breakfast service for ITV. It replaced TVam in January 1993. Its main programmes are Reuters News Hour, GMTV Today, and LK Today. www.gmtv.co.uk
Independent Television News is the news service provider. www.itn.co.uk It also runs the ITN News Channel (joint venture with NTL) and also Euronews (51% shareholding). Until 2000, ITN was majority owned by the ITV companies (until 1993 this was 100%), however now the ITV companies own 42% of ITN, with United Business Media, Reuters, and DMGT as the other shareholders. However it still shares premises with the ITV Network Centre. No shareholder is allowed hold more than 20% of ITN.
UTV2 is the new Digital channel from ITV, known as ITV2 in Great Britain.
Plans for CITV2 and a Gold channel are in the early stages.
See also Granada Sky Broadcasting and Carlton Communications