Channel 3 and 5 TV licences renewed
Two of the main terrestrial television channels have had their licences renewed for another 10 years, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has announced.
The licences for channels 3 and 5 have been renewed subject to negotiations which include levels of public service broadcasting.
The Channel 3 licences are held by ITV in England, Wales and the Channel Islands, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland, while the Channel 5 licence is held by Northern & Shell.
The decision aims to give the channels, which invest around £800 million a year in original content, the security to plan and deliver public service programming.
Following the decision by the Culture Secretary, Ofcom will be asked to start discussions with the licence holders on the cost and terms of the renewals. As part of the deal ITV may be required to produce more news programmes while Channel 5 has agreed to make more homegrown children's shows.
Mrs Miller said: "Renewing the licences for channel 3 and 5 will enable us to secure a strong and diverse future for public service broadcasting.
"And in these tough economic times, my decision will give the current licence holders - multimillion-pound organisations - the security they need to grow and invest.
ITV welcomed the decision and said it would be working on the details with Ofcom. Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "We clearly welcome this decision as certainty around our licences underpins ITV's continued investment in growing the business and in delivering our Transformation Plan.
"Licence renewal secures our position as a PSB (public service broadcaster) at the heart of UK life and culture well into the 2020s."
Channel 5 owner Richard Desmond said: "I am delighted that as expected Channel 5's licence has been renewed for another 10 years. This enables us to continue investing in programmes, programming, news, children's programmes, films, sport and everything else that has made Channel 5 the only mainstream family of channels to grow its audience share year-on-year."