Britain’s ITV3 Buys Onto BSkyB Satellite Platform

03 November 2004

ITV's second digital channel ITV3, launched Tuesday evening, was only aired to viewers of Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB satellite platform after a last minute deal was struck between ITV and Europe's largest pay-TV operator.

Until Tuesday it seemed that Sky viewers would be deprived of this treat due to the inability of the parties to agree such louche considerations as to how many crisp £50-notes should change hands - two hundred thousand of them as it transpired.

In a piquant conflict of interests, ITV (controlling shareholder Granada) very nearly failed to agree the deal with Granada Sky Broadcasting (controlling shareholder Granada), a joint venture in which Granada owned 50.5%. The GSB platform owns the transponder satellite spectrum via which key multichannels can be transmitted.

BSkyB was reluctant to permit the use of it's 49.5% of the property to broadcast ITV3 but was finally persuaded to see reason by the irresistible logic of £10 million ($18.3m; €14.38m).

The agreement creates access for the new channel - plus older sibling ITV2 - to around seven million BSkyB homes. It is also available via Freeview, the terrestrial digital platform backed by the BBC, extending the ITV channels' reach to some thirteen million UK digital households.

And, critically, it also allows ITV to feature ITV3 together with ITV2, in adjacent slots on Sky Digital's electronic programming guide.

Crows ITV chief executive Charles Allen: "This deal delivers on our strategic objective to build the ITV family of digital channels and will enable ITV3 to maximise its potential."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff