Following the publication of the draft Media Bill, 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.
Earlier this year, ITV welcomed the publication of the Media Bill as a decisive staging post on the journey to a modern and flexible regulatory regime for TV and media in the UK.
In a letter sent on 29 March 2023 to the OFCOM Chief Executive Melanie Dawes, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer noted that ITV and STV as current Channel 3 Licence holders continue to fulfil their core purposes as PSBs (Public Service Broadcasters) and communicated her decision to permit Ofcom to renew the licences to enable this success to continue and for the PSB system to continue to thrive into the future.
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.
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 has the confidence to apply for renewal of the Channel 3 licences. The new licences will enable the company to continue to deliver the very significant PSB contribution that we make to life in the UK for the 10 year period from the end of 2024 when the current licences expire.
ITV will continue to operate at the heart of national life under new PSB licences with a unique offering that is highly distinctive from any commercial competitor. The Media Bill provisions, when enacted, will play an important role in helping to underwrite that contribution on TV and online for the long term.
After a short period of technical consultation on key provisions of the Bill, the crucial next step is for the government to allocate Parliamentary time for the Bill before the election and we would urge them to do this as soon as possible.
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.”