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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
ITN keeps ITV news
Trevor McDonald
Trevor McDonald: The face of ITV news
News provider ITN has kept its contract to supply commercial TV network ITV with news, ITV has announced.

ITN, which has provided news bulletins for the network for more than 45 years, fought off a rival bid from the Channel 3 consortium, involving satellite station Sky News.

It is now the the preferred bidder for the new contract, starting in January 2003, despite reports that Channel 3 News had offered a substantial cut in the cost of the service to ITV.

ITV will now begin exclusive negotiations with ITN on the terms of the agreement for the four-year contract.

New York
ITN's coverage of the 11 September attacks had been praised
Until terms are agreed, details of the rival bids will remain confidential.

Stewart Purvis, chief executive of ITN, said: "We believe that ITV's decision to select ITN as the preferred bidder reflects the quality of our news provision and the value for money of the ITN tender."

The editor of ITV News, Nigel Dacre, said the news service would now focus on trying to "further strengthen the position of ITV as the country's most popular channel".

Richard Huntingford, chairman of the unsuccessful bidder Channel 3 News, said that the company was "naturally disappointed" by the decision.

Jon Snow
Channel 4 news: Read by Jon Snow, provided by ITN
"We believed - and still do - that our proposals would give ITV a high quality service at excellent value for money, to the benefit of viewers, advertisers and shareholders," he said.

"We remain ready to talk further to ITV about our proposal whenever they wish.

"We will, of course, look closely at ITV's reasons for choosing ITN's proposal as a basis for further negotiation."

The backers of Channel 3 News include the satellite broadcaster BSkyB, Chrysalis, Ulster Television, the financial news group Bloomberg and the American network CBS.


The consortium offered to set up a service from scratch with new technology - and said that by providing news only for ITV, it could be more cost-effective.

ITN is a broadcasting institution as long-established as ITV itself.

It is owned by Granada and Carlton Communications - both major shareholders in ITV. Other backers include United Business Media, Daily Mail & General Trust and the Reuters Group.

It now provides bulletins for commercial broadcasters including Channel 4 and Channel 5, 250 commercial radio stations and several 24-hour news services.

It has already seen off challenges for the Channel 4 and Channel 5 bulletins from BSkyB, the owner of Sky News.

And executives always maintained that it was confident of retaining this, its first and most important contract - which it has said is worth 46m a year.

Praise for the ITN coverage of the 11 September attacks on the US may also have helped it retain the contract.

See also:

26 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
The significance of ITN's news deal
31 Jul 01 | Business
Bidding closes for ITV news
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sky battles ITN for news contract
31 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
ITN's global expansion
13 Jun 01 | Business
ITV to seek bids from news providers
01 Aug 00 | UK
ITN joins all-news battle
30 Jul 00 | Business
BSkyB eyes ITV news deal
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