Published Monday, 05 March 2012
UTV's headquarters in Belfast, Havelock House. (© UTV)
UTV and ITV plc have signed a Network Affiliate Agreement for the provision of Channel 3 programmes and services, subject to regulatory approval.
The affiliate relationship will reflect ITV's role and responsibility as the principal driving force behind the Channel 3 schedule, in terms of funding, acquisition and scheduling of content.
UTV would then purchase the ITV programming and broadcast the full range of Network programming alongside all UTV's regional news, current affairs and regional programming.
Included in the Agreement is a deal which will ensure the distribution of UTV HD on Sky and freesat and, when the digital switchover takes place in October, also on Freeview.
We are especially pleased to plan the launch of UTV HD on both Sky and DTT by the end of this year, to complement the existing UTV HD service available to Virgin customers in Northern Ireland.
Michael Wilson, UTV managing director
A New Media Agreement has also been signed which grants UTV access to all ITV 1 programming for online use on the UTV Player in Northern Ireland.
A new Sales Agreement means ITV plc will continue to handle UTV's national advertising sales.
If the Network Affiliate Agreement is approved by Ofcom, the new arrangements would run until the end of the current UTV licence in 2014 and any future licences awarded to UTV until 2024.
UTV's chief executive John McCann said: "We are delighted to agree new terms with ITV plc for the future provision of programming, transmission and sales services to UTV as the Channel 3 licence holder in Northern Ireland.
"The proposed new agreements retain the strength offered by the original Channel 3 regional partnerships in the ITV Network, but provide the flexibility required for public service broadcasters to operate more effectively in today's market on all platforms.
"UTV is totally committed to providing Northern Ireland with quality public service programming in the future, as we have for more than 50 years."
Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV plc, added: "We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with UTV under a new affiliate agreement.
"This agreement, which is still subject to regulatory approval, represents a major milestone for us as it consolidates and simplifies the ITV Network."