THE Glasgow broadcaster, STV, looks set to have its licence to broadcast in Scotland extended until 2024.
The Channel 3 licences for both the north of Scotland and across the Central Belt – currently operated by STV – were due for renewal in two years’ time.
But a statement today from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is paving the way for a ten-year extension, pending successful negotiations with broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.
Says the DCMS website: “The Culture Secretary [Maria Miller] has decided to renew the licences for another ten years, subject to negotiations. Ofcom will now begin discussions with the holders on the cost and terms.
“The Channel 3 licences are held by ITV in England, Wales and The Channel Islands, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland while the Channel 5 licence is held by Northern & Shell.”
Miller is quoted, as saying: “Renewing the licences for Channel 3 and 5 will enable us to secure a strong and diverse future for public service broadcasting. The UK is in a global race, and the TV programmes produced for 3 and 5 are exported around the world. Renewing the licences will ensure the holders can continue to invest in original UK content.”
Says Ofcom: “Maria Miller has today written to Ofcom to say she does not intend to block the renewal of the current licences for the Channel 3 services (ITV, STV and UTV) and Channel 5.
“This means that Ofcom can now work towards issuing new ten-year licences ahead of the expiration of the current licences at the end of 2014.
“However, the Secretary of State has also indicated that she is willing to extend the Channel 3 and 5 licences for a period of one year at Ofcom’s request in the event that Ofcom is unable to reach renewal settlements before the required date.”
A spokesperson for STV said: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State, Maria Miller, has recommended the long-term renewal of the Channel 3 licences.
“STV remains committed to the delivery of high quality public service content and this has been recognised by the Secretary of State in reaching this decision.
“We look forward to engaging with Ofcom in the forthcoming consultation to conclude the re-licensing process.”
Pic: Graeme Hunter.