31/07/2001

UTV in race for ITV news contract

UTV is part of a consortium of news providers bidding for the contract to supply news to ITV.

With applications to close on Tuesday July 31, ITN was facing competition from the consortium known as Channel Three News. The tender by Channel Three News is the first to threaten ITN's prized contract, which accounts for about 45 per cent of its revenue. Channel Three's backers include the satellite broadcaster BSkyB and the American network CBS.

The contract to supply the network news begins in 2003 and could be worth more than £150m.

The rival Channel Three News cannot be lightly dismissed. As well as BSkyB and CBS, its backers are Chrysalis, Ulster Television and the financial news group Bloomberg.

At this stage it is unlikely that any more bidders will emerge because they would first need to earn a nomination from the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

The ITC granted this status to Channel Three News in May after assessing that it had enough resources, was properly equipped and "adequately financed".

(GB)

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