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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
New ITV channel to launch 'soon'
Charles Allen
Charles Allen said good results showed the benefits of "one ITV"
Broadcaster ITV has said it is on course to launch a new ITV3 channel by the end of the year, as well as doubling its programme budget for ITV2.

The TV company, created from the merger of Carlton and Granada in January, said additional money would fund more sport, US shows and films on ITV2.

ITV3 will target viewers aged over 35 with ITV dramas and films.

Chief executive Charles Allen said he saw a "strong foundation for the ambitious plans we have".

ITV plans to invest an additional 36m a year across its channels in the hope of generating 150m revenues by 2007.

Already, the benefits of one ITV are apparent in our performance and efficiency
Charles Allen
ITV3 should be ready to launch in the last three months of the year, the broadcaster said.

The existing ITV2 service, aimed at the 16-24 age group, has proved successful in attracting viewers.

Ratings were up 8.3% in the year so far, ITV said, making ITV2 the third most-watched non-terrestrial channel in homes with satellite, cable or digital television.

John Lydon
Ex-Sex Pistol Lydon appeared in the last series of I'm a Celebrity...
The broadcaster said Euro 2004 had been "extremely successful" for ITV1, with England's opening game against France attracting an average of 14.8 million viewers.

The channel's autumn schedule will include a new adaptation of Miss Marple and a return of 2003's highest-rating drama, Rosemary And Thyme.

Reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here will also return to viewers' screens, ITV said.

The broadcaster reported an improvement in current trading performance, with net advertising revenues up 4.9% on the same period last year.

Mr Allen said the results showed the advantages of merging Carlton and Granada, including developing a single system for ITV sales.

He said: "Already, the benefits of one ITV are apparent in our performance and efficiency."

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