Ofcom renews commercial TV licences

UK regulator Ofcom has renewed the broadcasting licenses for Channel 3 – comprising ITV, Scotland’s STV and Northern Ireland’s UTV – and Channel 5 for 10 years from January 1 2015 following acceptance of new terms by the licensees.

Earlier this month, Ofcom confirmed that it would renew the licences and set out the terms for renewal, which all the licensees have now accepted.

In February 2013, Ofcom consulted on the programming obligations of the Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences, including news and current affairs and original and independent productions.

Ofcom has approved proposals for a more localised Channel 3 news service across England. This will see ITV provide regional news in 14 separate news regions compared to the current eight news regions it operates.

Against this, in all but two of ITV’s licences, the requirement for a weekday regional news bulletin in the early evening has been reduced from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. The two exceptions are London and North West England, where

Ofcom considered that ITV’s proposals for these areas would have reduced the volume of regional news without providing more localised coverage to benefit viewers.

Ofcom is also requiring 30 minutes of weekday early evening regional news content in the Border region which covers both sides of the England/Scotland border. ITV must now provide separate transmissions for the two parts of the Border region.

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