BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, yesterday applied to commercial television regulator, the Independent Television Commission, for recognition as a nominated news provider – required status for any company wishing to bid for the ITV news contract.

The contract has been held since the advent of commercial television in the UK by Independent Television News – jointly owned by all the ITV franchisees and the Daily Mail & General Trust.

Under the terms of the Broadcasting Act (1996) any company tendering for the ITV news contract must first satisfy the ITC that it is competent to provide a global news service. Sky News, which almost certainly meets that criterion, is currently on a roll having gained several major awards in the past year

ITN made light of the competition threat, boasting that it had previously beaten Sky News to major news contracts such as Channel 4 in 1998 and Channel 5 last year. The ITV contract comes up for renewal in 2002.

News source: Financial Times