Dpt Cult,Media&Sprt Culture Secretary renews Channel 3 and 5 licences

  Dpt Cult,Media&Sprt - Culture Secretary renews Channel 3 and 5 licences

RNS Number : 6332R
Dept. for Culture, Media & Sport
21 November 2012

Department for Culture, Media and Sport  21 November

                             *** News Release ***

              Culture Secretary renews Channel 3 and 5 licences

Channels 3 and 5 are to have their licences renewed for another 10 years,
Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced today, subject to negotiations which
include the levels of public service broadcasting.

The decision will give both Channel 3 and 5 the security required to plan and
deliver public service programming and the confidence to invest in
programming. The decision offers significant value to the creative industries
as Channels 3 and 5 invest around £800 million a year in original content.

Following the decision by the Culture Secretary, Ofcom will be asked to start
discussions with the licence holders on the cost and terms of the renewals.
The Channel 3 licences are held by ITV in England, Wales and The Channel
Islands, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland while the Channel 5
licence is held by Northern & Shell.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

"Renewing the licences for Channel 3 and 5 will enable us to secure a strong
and diverse future for public service broadcasting.

"And in these tough economic times, my decision will give the current licence
holders - multi million pound organisations - the security they need to grow
and invest.

"I intend for the licence renewals to deliver a good deal for viewers and the
UK economy and also create certainty in the market during these difficult
economic times.

"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."

After considering advice from Ofcom, the Culture Secretary has decided the
licences should be renewed for the full 10 years. She has written to the
regulator asking it to negotiate the licences, and highlighted the issues she
wants looked at as part of that process. Those issues are:

· The need to work with the licence holders to maintain, or even increase,
the current level of public service requirements, such as the amount of news
or original content.

· Under proposals advanced by ITV, viewers in the south of Scotland would
not receive the same level of programming about Scotland as those in the
northern and central parts of the country. The Culture Secretary said she
wanted to see a way forward that addressed the concerns of viewers in the
Border region.

At the Culture Secretary's request, Northern & Shell has made a commitment for
the first time about investing in programmes for children on Channel 5. The
channel has said it will broadcast at least 600 hours of UK-originated
children's programmes a year and this would comprise at least half of
children's programmes on the channel.

She also agreed that Ofcom should progress the potential separation of the
Wales and West Channel 3 licence region.

The licences for Channel 3 and 5 expire on 31 December 2014 and Ofcom are
expected to agree and complete the negotiations by then. However, Mrs Miller
is prepared to extend the licences by a year if the necessary negotiations are
not completed in time.

Notes to Editors

1. The Secretary of State can instruct Ofcom to renew the licences for a
full 10 years, extend for a limited period or auction the licences. Ofcom are
required to produce a report to the Secretary of State under section 229 of
the Communications Act 2003. In the report, Ofcom give their opinion on
whether the existing licence holders will be able to contribute, at a
commercially sustainable cost, to the fulfilment of the public service
broadcasting purposes in the 10 years from 2015. The report is available here

2. The letter from the Culture Secretary to Ofcom detailing her decision is
available at http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/9535.aspx.

Press enquiries: 020 7211 2210

Public enquiries: 020 7211 6000

Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153 


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