ITN shareholders call for single owner to compete with news rivals
Wednesday 12 February 2003
ITN yesterday demanded that all ownership restrictions on the commercial TV news operation be lifted, allowing ITV to take it over.
The news provider said the Communications Bill, now passing through Parliament, must free it of ownership rules. Under old media laws, no company could own more than 20 per cent of ITN. The Bill will set a 40 per cent limit but that still means that at least three companies have to own ITN.
Currently Carlton, Granada, Reuters, Daily Mail & General Trust and United Business Media each own 20 per cent of ITN – the last two shareholders are reckoned to be looking to sell their stakes. The Government believes that ITN's editorial output needs special protection from any one company owning it.
Carlton and Granada, which are in merger talks, bought ITN's rolling TV news channel last year and are known to be interested in buying up the whole business. The prospect of outright ownership by ITV was welcomed by ITN yesterday in a briefing for journalists.
Mark Wood, ITN's chairman, said: "In my view this [ownership of ITN] is not something government should be regulating at all. You don't need to regulate the ownership to regulate what goes on the screen."
Mr Wood said ITN and its shareholders were lobbying hard for a lifting of the ownership rules. The Communications Bill has passed through the committee stage in the Commons and will soon go to the House of Lords, where it is believed there is the best chance of an amendment to the ITN rules.
"Our shareholders are very supportive but shareholder interests change. Getting five parties to agree on things is not easy. Granada and Carlton have said they want the option of full ownership.... News businesses need investment," he said.
Mr Wood pointed out that the BBC and BSkyB, ITN's main domestic competitors, do not have equivalent ownership structures. He added that he wanted to see a clear remit statement published by the BBC for its rolling news channel, News 24, that distinguished it from the ITN and Sky News channels.
For the current year, ITN's revenues are forecast at around £90m with a profit in the low single digits. Of that, some £20m will come from its "enterprise unit" which includes services such as a news archive service, which sells ITN's historical footage but also that of other suppliers, such as Reuters.
ITN yesterday secured a deal to sell the archive clips of al-Jazeera, the satellite TV news operation based in Qatar that shot to fame after broadcasting Osama bin Laden's speeches following the 11 September terrorist attacks. ITN will sell all the al-Jazeera historical footage but clips from a current day's events will still be handled by the Arab station.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial first week: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...