The Scots broadcaster, STV, is hoping to receive permission from broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, to establish a simpler relationship with ITV.
Being proposed by STV and ITV is an annual pay-as-you go 'affiliate deal' whereby STV would pay an up-front fee to have access to ITV programmes, which make up the bulk of the STV schedule.
If approved, it would bring to an end a relationship rooted in the way ITV used to be, comprising 15 different regional broadcasters, almost 60 years ago. Now, following various mergers and take-overs, ITV is UK-wide except most of Scotland (STV) and Northern Ireland (UTV).
UTV and ITV have similarly agreed – subject to Ofcom approval – an affiliate deal.
An additional element to the agreement between ITV and STV concerns the recent resolution of three legal disputes, involving contributions towards network programme-making and video on-demand rights. This new agreement means STV will not have to pay ITV quite as much as first anticipated.
While STV has already paid £7.2million from the £18million original settlement, when the legal hostilities ceased, of the remaining £10.8million, some of it would be cash and some would be network programmes not yet aired by STV and which would be handed back.
Having access to ITV programmes will allow STV to continue to broadcast its mix of approximately 95 per cent network programmes and five per cent home-grown ones.
In a STV statement, Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV, is quoted, as saying: “Today's announcement confirms the stability and certainty of long term, commercially sustainable networking arrangements between the Channel 3 licence holders. STV remains 100 per cent committed to its public service broadcasting credentials, to delivering a distinct schedule for Scotland and to providing a platform for informed debate. We are delighted to have reached agreement on a set of terms which will benefit our viewers and consumers across all distribution platforms.”
And Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV plc, is also quoted as saying: “We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with STV 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.”