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ITV (1955)

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ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, the number 3 having no real meaning other than to distinguish it from BBC One, BBC Two and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned as televisions would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, the other stations being allocated to that of the number their name contained.

ITV is to be distinguished from ITV plc, the company that resulted from the merger of Granada plc and Carlton Communications in 2004 and which holds the Channel 3 broadcasting licences in England, Wales, southern Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands through its subsidiaries ITV Broadcasting Limited and Channel Television Limited. Similarly ITV1 is the brand used by ITV plc for the Channel 3 service in these areas. Of the companies external to ITV plc, STV and UTV use their own brands in their own respective areas .


Independent Television was created following the Television Act 1954, with the Independent Television Authority set up to control and review the network. ITV initially launched in three main areas: London, the Midlands and the North of England in September 1955, February 1956 and May 1956 respectively. The shape of the ITV Network and the course it has taken down the years has largely been controlled by regular reviews by the Authority which occurred in 1964, 1968, 1974, 1982, and 1993, which saw regions and contract areas reshaped and licence holders changed. Additionally, since the Broadcasting Act 1990 the consolidation of ITV companies has also had an important bearing on the direction of the network. The 1990s saw the number of broadcasters drop dramatically, for instance in 1992, Yorkshire Television acquired Tyne Tees Television to create Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television, only for this entity to merge with Granada Television in 1997. A similar process happened with the Southern Regions, leaving Carlton Television and Granada Television as the two major players, until the failure of ITV Digital saw these two merge.

Today, all the ITV companies are in the hands of three companies: ITV plc, owners of twelve franchises in England, Wales, South Scotland, Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the national breakfast franchise; STV Group plc owners of two franchises in North and Central Scotland; and UTV Media plc, the franchise for Northern Ireland.''

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Independent Television (ITV)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.