The terrestrial digital licenses formerly held by failed platform ITV Digital, and currently up for tender, have no attraction for the nation’s indigenous broadcasters and media groups – not one of which has expressed interest to the Independent Television Commission.
All expressions of interest must be notified to the ITC by May 16, but the only parties to have done so as yet are all of overseas origin. They are said to include one large US group and at least one major mainland European player. But Vivendi Universal and Bertelsmann have remained aloof, according to insiders.
The ITC is said to be bending over backward to keep the licenses out of the clutch of the British Broadcasting Corporation to which they will transfer by default in the absence of credible bidders.
The commercial TV regulator has told potential buyers it is willing to compromise on the requirements of the licences and that the balance between the number of pay-channels and free-to-air channels specified in the licences is negotiable.
Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff