ITN and Channel Three News fight for ITV news contract

LONDON - ITV's news provider ITN faces a tough time as rival consortium Channel Three News enters the battle to bid for the much-coveted licence.

ITN, which has handled the news for the ITV network for 46 years, is up against the consortium, part-funded by BSkyB, in a bid for the licence starting at the beginning of 2003.

ITN is the favourite to keep the licence, given that two of its leading shareholders include the dominant shareholders in ITV, Granada and Carlton Communications. Other shareholders include Reuters, Daily Mail & General Trust and United Business Media.

The ITV contract makes up almost half of ITN's revenues. Channel Three News says it can provide a news service for less, using new technology to build it from scratch.

The consortium is made up of CBS News, Chrysalis Group, Ulster Television and Bloomberg.