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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK
Scramble for ITV Digital's licences
ITV Digital monkey
ITV Digital's former licence is up for grabs
Several organisations have told the UK television industry watchdog that they are keen to take over the three digital terrestrial multiplex licences formerly owned by ITV Digital.

MGt, based in Kirkcaldy, says it's considering making a bid to transmit several existing television channels

Torin Douglas
BBC media correspondent
ITV Digital's licence was returned earlier this month following its administrators' failure to sell the stricken broadcaster as a going concern.

"The expressions of interest [in the licences] are confidential," the UK's Independent Television Commission said, declining to reveal who the bidders are or how many they are.

But the BBC's media correspondent Torin Douglas said one is a call-centre in Scotland.

"MGt, based in Kirkcaldy, says it's considering making a bid to transmit several existing television channels," he said.

Existing broadcasters

Mr Douglas said MGt would probably be up against a consortium of terrestrial broadcasters - ITV, the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and SDN - which already has a digital licence.

"I understand no agreement has been reached between them yet, so they've each made separate submissions of interest," Mr Douglas said.

"They hope jointly to run a free-to-air service, including the five main channels, plus digital-only ones like BBC Choice, BBC 4, ITV2 and News 24."

Formal bidding

The companies have another two weeks to prepare their formal applications for the licences.

"To enable them to proceed to the tender stage we will provide support and information to those who have expressed an interest," the Commission said.

"A list of applicants will be published as soon as it is practicable at the tender stage."

See also:

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