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I’m not an early morning person, but it was worth getting up before 6am today to receive the news from Westminster's Culture Minister that she has decided to renew our Channel 3 licence for Northern Ireland until 2024.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Tags:
  • News

Our licence along with that of ITV, STV and Channel Five was due to expire at the end of 2014.

It's the completion of almost three years work with Ofcom and DCMS to prove our pedigree, our business case and show that we're prepared to offer high quality news and programming throughout the next licence period.

Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is a funny thing, it's hard to define - but very easy to spot when you see it done right.

In the last couple of years UTV has revamped UTV Live, created the late new UTV Live Tonight, which was the first ever late night news and current affairs programme for any region in the UK.

We've expanded our programme offering online with a new u.tv website and recently a new mobile site. We're putting our news and programming everywhere the audience wants to see it.

We've also delivered a more diverse slate of local programmes than at any time in our 54 year history: Lesser Spotted Ulster, a Rare Breed and our Titanic Centenary coverage were not only loved by our audiences but rate extremely well, boosting the profile of their sponsors.

A recent Insight documentary was voted the best current affairs programme in the UK by the much respected Royal Television Society.

I have to say at this point a huge number of people at UTV have worked incredibly hard to secure this announcement today from DCMS. Thank you to everyone.

With the new relationship we signed earlier in the year with ITV, and now a proposed licence renewal until the middle of the next decade, few companies can be more sure of their content and business plan.

Now the team and I will ensure we work with Ofcom to get a signed agreement of our new licence, commit to continue to service Northern Ireland, and ensure that this region is the best serviced for high quality Public Service Content in the whole of the UK.

All at UTV are proud to service Northern Ireland, the news today shows that our hard work has been recognised.