New ITV channel targets the young

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The Independent Online
ITV LAUNCHED its first new television channel since its own launch in 1955 yesterday. A channel in its own image only more so.

ITV2, which will be broadcast free as part of the ONdigital package as well as on cable channels, will concentrate on soaps, sport and quiz shows in an effort to attract a younger audience than its parent channel.

The new channel will re-broadcast the main channel's soap operas Coronation Street and Emmerdale at 10pm every night for those who might have missed them earlier and it will give such ITV stars as Trevor McDonald and John Suchet their own shows. There will also be a compilation programme called The Best of This Morning.

Mr McDonald will host his own chat show and Mr Suchet will front a current affairs programme entitled Who? What? Why?

ITV also plans to exploit its ownership of the television rights to Champion's League football and the Rugby World Cup to try to encourage take up of the digital equipment needed to receive ITV2 and ONdigital. ITV is predicting that 10 million homes will have digital receiving equipment by 2005.

Consumers will need a pounds 200 set top box and possibly a new aerial to receive the digital version of the channel. ONdigital has struggled to get enough set top boxes into the shops since it launched last month.

Much of the channel's own programmes will be low-budget, studio-based, such as game shows and a teenage magazine strand called Bed Rock.