Greg Dyke on broadcasting: Both ITV and 4 are digital losers

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I SMILED when I read that Channel 4 and ITV are bidding each other up in the contest to buy the spectrum needed to launch a single additional Freeview channel which is currently being auctioned. Three years ago, just before the BBC and others launched Freeview, both Channel 4 and ITV were invited to join the project and by doing so acquire additional channel capacity. Both turned the opportunity down.

In the case of Channel 4 at least, chief executive Andy Duncan can claim that it wasn't his fault the channel didn't jump on the Freeview bandwagon. At the time he was in charge of marketing at the BBC and was one of the reasons why Freeview became successful. Current BBC boss Mark Thompson was the man who said no for Channel 4.

But ITV in the shape of Granada and Carlton were the people who really missed out. Having lost pounds 1.2bn between them on the first incarnation of digital terrestrial television when ITV Digital went bust, both then decided not to join Freeview and, as a result, completely missed out on DTT's successful reinvention. It was hardly one of the great business decisions - a bit like heads you lose and tails you lose.