The Independent Television Commission is proposing an overhaul of
the ITV licence system. It is hoping to achieve a more even distribution
of the amount ITV companies pay the Treasury annually.
The ITC wants to abandon the competitive, blind auction system which
came out of the 1990 Broadcasting Act and, instead, base 75 per cent of
the annual amount paid by each station on advertising and sponsorship
This would turn the current situation on its head.
Last year, ITV payments totalled pounds 412 million - pounds 257 million
coming from fixed fees and pounds 155 million from the revenue
The proposals, contained in this week’s ITC consultation paper on
Channel 3 licence renewals, should be good news for those companies that
bid over the odds for their current licences, based on the 1993
agreement. These include Yorkshire Tyne Tees and HTV, now owned by
United News and Media.
However, the changes will also almost certainly hit those companies that
made minimal bids for licences. These include Central, now owned by
Carlton, and Scottish TV.
The ITC is not proposing any changes to the ITV map or the rules which
forbid any merger between the London weekday and weekend services,
Carlton and LWT.
The consultation document invites responses within two months, so a
final statement can be published by December. ITV companies can apply
for licence renewal for ten years from 1999.