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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 16:12 GMT
ITV1 to cut back children's shows
SpongeBob Squarepants
SpongeBob SquarePants is shown on ITV1
ITV1 has been given permission to reduce the number of hours it dedicates to children's and religious programmes.

Media regulator Ofcom granted the reduction in public service broadcasting because of the choice of programmes available on other channels.

ITV1 applied for the reduction to allow it to boost ad revenues and cut costs.

The network now has to provide a minimum of eight hours of children's programmes a week and one hour of religious output.

Channel 4 and Five are both required to offer only one hour of religious programming each.

Across the board

Despite the drop Ofcom said ITV1 was still "committed to the maintenance of high quality religious factual programmes, including acts of worship shown in full".

In allowing the change to the amount of children's programming, Ofcom took into account the proliferation of digital channels that catered solely for young audiences.

"Even though it might be reduced by an hour or two on ITV, across the board it remains basically the same," said an Ofcom spokesman said.

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