Channel Five licence attracts only one bidder

ONLY one group applied to the Independent Television Commission yesterday for the licence to run Channel Five, Britain's proposed fifth terrestrial television channel.

The nominal bid, believed to be just pounds 1,000, was submitted before the noon deadline by Channel Five Holdings. This is a company owned by Thames Television, the ITV contractor which lost its franchise, after 24 years, last October.

The lack of interest was in marked contrast to the frantic interest in the most profitable ITV franchises last year. The ITC will take several months to vet the unopposed application, which is seeking financial backers.

Richard Dunn, chairman of Channel Five Holdings, and chief executive of Thames Television, said: 'This is a serious application for a national television licence.' It was not, he said, 'an immediate licence to print money' but should be viewed as a 10-year business opportunity.

Thames is taking a 15 per cent stake by providing programmes and services to the pounds 150m project, but is seeking investors to take up the other 85 per cent. It has appointed Moses Znaimer, 49, the Canadian entrepreneur who founded trendy Citytv in Toronto, as the channel's architect.

The lack of interest in running the channel arises from the massive difficulty and cost of checking and retuning equipment in up to 7 million homes with video recorders. This is because the channels 35 and 37 allocated to Channel Five may clash with those used by videos. The new operator would have to retune videos in the areas affected within three weeks.

Mr Dunn said that Channel Five Holdings would 'train a field force, an army of retuners' to do this before broadcasts started.

The application says that it will cost pounds 75m to retune and install new aerials. It likens the project to the conversion of British homes to North Sea gas during the 1960s.

Mr Dunn said all the people doing retuning would wear uniforms and carry photo-identity cards, and would be screened because of concern over security.

The application plans a 24-hour London-based service starting in July 1993, a form of super-station which would also be broadcast throughout Britain on the Astra satellite.

Channel Five Holdings, as the licence holder, would own this 100 per cent. At this stage it would be available to 46 per cent of UK homes.

It would then seek investors for a 49 per cent minority stake for a Manchester-based station, to start in 1994, followed by a Birmingham station in 2000 and a Scotland station by 2001.

Mr Dunn said that there has been a 'huge amount of disinformation about Channel Five' since the rest of broadcasting did not want another rival.

The BBC's first episode of Eldorado, its 'sex, sun and sangria' soap opera, is reported by industry sources to have attracted poor ratings of about 6.1 million viewers on Monday, little more than the average for the discontinued Wogan.

ITV's special hour-long edition of Coronation Street attracted 12 million viewers, rising to 15 million after 7.30pm.

Media, page 15

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory