Yorkshire will back Sky News as ITN rival

MATHEW HORSMAN

Media Editor

Yorkshire-Tyne Tees, the ITV licence holder, remains committed to launching a rival news service for Channel 3, in competition with ITN, Ward Thomas, the company chairman, said yesterday.

"There should be plurality in a democracy," Mr Thomas said, confirming that YTT remains interested in backing a bid by Rupert Murdoch's Sky News to become a nominated news provider for the ITV network.

The rival news service, also supported by ITV companies HTV, Meridian and Anglia, is being developed by Sky and Reuters, the financial information company, and Sky has indicated it could undercut ITN's pounds 57m-a-year news contract by as much as pounds 27m. A formal proposal is due to be presented to the Independent Television Commission, the regulating body of commercial television, within weeks.

Mr Thomas made his comments following the unveiling of pre-tax profits ahead 60 per cent at pounds 21.6m, compared to pounds 13m on a pro-forma basis last time. Revenues rose to pounds 261m from pounds 244.7m, helped by advertising sales ahead 9 per cent to pounds 169.1m. The company received pounds 8m under the controversial levy imposed on Channel 4 as part of the so-called "safety net" arrangements. These payments are due to be phased out by 1998.

Financial results had been depressed by a disastrous overselling of advertising slots in 1994, which required repayments to advertisers.

"We have put all that well and truly behind us," Mr Thomas said. "Our results confirm that."

The company has pushed the dividend payment for 1995 to 14p from 4.8p, reflecting the improvement.

A restructuring programme is now nearly completed, and the company does not expect further redundancies.

YTT has been the subject of persistent takeover rumours, particularly since Granada, the TV and leisure company, controversially took its stake to 25 per cent last month. Mr Thomas said yesterday he was convinced Granada would not mount a hostile bid, but left the door open to an agreed bid, repeating his contention that the ITV sector would consolidate under perhaps just three companies over the next year or two.

Mr Thomas ruled out future investments in cable, but confirmed an interest in satellite broadcasting. He also reiterated YTT's call for an early review of the licence payments made by ITV companies to the Treasury. YTT paid pounds 64.2m last year.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most