ITV and Channel 5 to get new licences but must offer more

Marion Dakers
VIEWERS of Downton Abbey might be used to dramatic cliffhangers, but yesterday the threat of another plot twist was removed, after the culture secretary renewed Channel 3’s broadcasting licence for another 10 years from 2014.

Culture secretary Maria Miller said that the extension for Channel 3 and Channel 5 will secure around £800m in investment for original content across the two channels.

As part of the deal, ITV has been asked to provide more for audiences in Scotland and the Borders, after the firm proposed cutting back on local programming. Channel 5 must offer more for children.

Channel 3 licences are held by ITV in England and Wales, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland.

Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell holds the licence for Channel 5.

Following Miller’s approval, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom will start negotiations with the licence holders about the financial terms of the renewals.