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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
ITV wins Freeview channel auction
Digital TV
Almost 14 million homes now have some form of digital TV
ITV has won the auction for a newly available channel on digital TV platform Freeview.

The commercial broadcaster beat competition from Channel 4 and Walt Disney for the 18-hour-a-day channel.

The deal will take the number of ITV digital channels to four, but the company has not revealed what programming will appear on the channel.

ITV's flagship channel and digital channels ITV2, ITV3 and ITV News are already available on Freeview.

'Good news'

Charles Allen, chief executive of ITV, said: "One of our strategic objectives is to grow ITV's successful multichannel business and we are therefore delighted to have secured additional capacity on this platform.

"We will now build on the tremendous success of ITV2 and ITV3 by expanding the range of our offering on the digital platform where our channels perform best."

Crown Castle UK - which runs Freeview with the BBC and BSkyB - made the announcement on Friday.

Peter Abery, Crown Castle's chief executive, said: "This is good news for everybody involved.

"We are also very pleased to have ITV as a channel customer on our multiplex."

Almost five million households have Freeview, which accounts for 31% of the digital TV market in the UK.

It provides about two dozen extra digital TV channels beyond the five main terrestrial ones with the cost to viewers a set-top box for about 60.

Nearly six out of 10 UK homes now have access to digital TV, a new report from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom revealed this week.

The government aims to switch off analogue signals by 2012.

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