'Contract victory for C3 News will boost competition

Nick Pollard

A crucial meeting of the ITV Council is due to take place on Tuesday when members are expected to discuss the bids submitted by ITN and its rival Channel 3 News.

ITV chiefs are then expected to spend the next month discussing the bids before an announcement is made.

In the latest battle of words over C3 News’s challenge to ITN, a report by Philippa Marks, former adviser to the Culture Ministry who now works for Indepen Consulting, claims the emergence of C3 News as a news provider would "better ensure the plurality of news to the nation".

The argument that ITN would still retain dominant market share through its Channel 4 and 5 contracts, even if it lost the contest, and that a fourth supplier would boost competition, was floated at the Edinburgh International Television Festival by Nick Pollard, head of Sky News, part of the C3 News consortium.

But Julian Petley, from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, dismissed the claims, saying they failed to take account of the other media interests of BSkyB owner Rupert Murdoch.

"Murdoch is still thought of as the most powerful media magnate and with a player who is in so much of a dominant position I can’t see how it will ensure plurality if his interests are expanded," he said.

Co-author of the Indepen report, Ian Allcock, said its survey was carried out independently and had not been commissioned. The company’s website reveals its clients include Chrysalis, which is also a consortium member, along with CBS, Bloomberg, and Ulster TV.








By Julie Tomlin

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