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
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada