Ofcom sets out process for ITV, STV, UTV and Channel 5 licence renewal

21 November 2012

Ofcom today sets out the next steps for the licence renewal of ITV, STV, UTV and Channel 5, following the announcement from Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on the future licensing arrangements.

Maria Miller has today written to Ofcom to say she does not intend to block the renewal of the current licences for the Channel 3 services (ITV, STV and UTV) and Channel 5.

This means that Ofcom can now work towards issuing new 10-year licences ahead of the expiration of the current licences at the end of 2014.

However, the Secretary of State has also indicated that she is willing to extend the Channel 3 and 5 licences for a period of one year at Ofcom's request in the event that Ofcom is unable to reach renewal settlements before the required date.

Following the Secretary of State's decision, Ofcom now sets out the next steps in the licence renewal process:

  • Ofcom will hold a consultation on the process for renewal and Channel 3 and Channel 5's obligations for the next licence period, including the Channel 3 licensees' proposed amendments to their current regional commitments.
  • Ofcom will carry out an assessment of the financial terms on which the new licences should be offered with a view to publishing a statement in summer 2013.

Under section 229 of the Communications Act (2003), Ofcom is required to prepare a report for the Secretary of State on the effect of licence conditions and other arrangements on the capacity of the existing Channel 3 and Channel 5 licence holders to "contribute, in the next licensing period, to the fulfilment of the purposes of public service television broadcasting in the United Kingdom at a cost to the licence holders that is commercially sustainable".

Ofcom submitted its report (PDF, 598.8 KB) to the Secretary of State in May 2012.