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Channel 3 and 5 licence holders to get 10 year renewal

ITV, UTV, STV, Channel 5
  • ITV West and Wales region to be split
  • Channel 5 keeps licence in return for more children's programming.

UPDATE Licences for the TV companies broadcasting on Channel 3 and 5 will be renewed for another ten years, according to a decision by Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

The move will allow ITV plc, Scotland's STV, Northern Ireland's UTV and Channel 5 owner Northern & Shell to retain their control over the terrestrial networks for another decade once their existing licences expire at the end of 2014. An auction based licencing round which could have seen incumbent broadcasters lose their licence has therefore been ruled out.

Licence renewals key to Freeview capacity and lucrative channel numbers >

In a statement released on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's website, Mrs Miller said: "Renewing the licences for Channel 3 and 5 will enable us to secure a strong and diverse future for public service broadcasting. The UK is in a global race, and the TV programmes produced for 3 and 5 are exported around the world. Renewing the licences will ensure the holders can continue to invest in original UK content."

Channel 5's owner Northern and Shell agreed to transmit at least 600 hours of UK originated children's programming a year at the Secretary of State's request.

Mrs Miller has also requested that Ofcom negotiate the terms of the new licences, particularly with regards to the current Channel 3 licences for Wales and West, which the Culture Secretary would like splitting. A review of the terms of the licence for the Border Scotland region would also be undertaken, as current proposals would see ITV plc not offering the same level of Scottish programming for viewers in that region compared to viewers in Central and Northern Scotland.
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