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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 14:56 GMT
ITV News Channel to close early
ITV News Channel
Staff did not want to work over Christmas on the channel
The ITV News Channel will close down on Friday, a month earlier than expected.

ITV, which announced the channel's closure last week, had planned to cease broadcasting in January or February.

But management decided to pull the plug on the service early to avoid staff having to work over Christmas for a service which would be closing down.

The five-year-old channel has struggled for viewers against competition from the BBC and Sky, and recently lost half its broadcasting hours on Freeview.

"The staff and management of the channel have agreed that we could not expect the News Channel's dedicated staff to work their usual long hours and shift patterns over Christmas at a time when the channel's closure is imminent," said ITV news and regions chief executive Clive Jones.

Its hours on Freeview were cut to accommodate the new ITV4 service, and ITV is widely expected to launch a children's channel in the news channel's place in 2006.

The money saved will be ploughed back into the main ITV1 news service, while bulletins will also be launched on digital channels ITV2 and ITV3.

Mr Jones added: "Following ITV's announcement last week of a 2m investment in other areas of ITV's news service we will be looking at the opportunities created by the expansion of our news gathering operation to redeploy as many staff as possible in the New Year."

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