Britain’s leading commercial television network ITV plans to build its second channel, ITV2, into a major competitor to Sky One, the flagship offering of Rupert Murdoch’s satellite-TV giant BSkyB.

ITV’s dominant shareholders, Carlton Communications and Granada Media, are to boost investment in the digital channel, launched two years ago and used chiefly for repeats, spin-offs from flagship terrestrial channel ITV1 and soccer from Europe’s Champions League.

“We have a growth strategy for ITV2,” revealed Granada. “We'll increase the spin-offs from ITV1, continue use of Champions League and use it as a second chance to see popular soaps. From next year, ITV2 will show more movies.”

The channel’s ambitions to be the UK’s fourth commercial station (behind ITV1, Channel 4 and Five) receive a boost this week with the launch of new digital terrestrial service Freeview. ITV2 is one of the twenty-plus channels carried on the platform, unlike Sky One.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff