Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ITV May Ditch 'Loss Making' Local News

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ITV May Ditch 'Loss Making' Local News

Article excerpt

Byline: Hugo Ducan

BROADCASTER ITV may no longer have to provide regional news after media regulator Ofcom said today that the cost of paying for its licence will soon outweigh the benefits.

Ofcom said the Channel 3 regional network licences -- which come with public service requirements such as providing regional news -- could be in deficit to the tune of [pounds sterling]38 million to [pounds sterling]64 million by 2012.

The licence currently allows ITV in England and Wales, UTV in Northern Ireland, and STV in Scotland to broadcast on terrestrial television in return for providing services such as regional news.

But Ofcom predicted the service will be heavily loss making once the digital switchover is complete in 2012, with regional news making up most of the costs. It said that as the digital TV roll-out gathers pace across the UK, the value of holding the licence is declining.

The TV regulator said new funding will be needed if regional news on Channel 3 is to be maintained. …

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