Allen keen to exploit audio assets from ITV programme archive for digital radio and broadband use
BROADCAST EXCLUSIVE - Granada Media chairman Charles Allen is believed to be exploring the idea of turning ITV into a major supplier of audio programming for digital radio and multimedia applications, writes Colin Robertson.

According to insiders, Allen is looking at exploiting the audio feeds from ITV's huge programming output to create a number of generic broadcasts for broadband applications.

No strategy has been decided yet, but any future development is likely to be handled by the project team, currently being assembled.

Sport is believed to be one area of particular interest. ITV has the rights to a host of sporting events including Uefa champions League Football.

Comedy and audio versions of Granada's popular soaps such as Coronation Street

and Emmerdale could also feature as part of the service.

Allen has already signalled his interest in becoming a major player in the audio world, after telling delegates at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival earlier this year that he wanted Granada to become involved in radio.

Granada currently plays no major role in radio but has a relationship with Capital FM, which has agreed to sell Granada the Border ITV franchise within three years.

Separately, Allen this week officially stepped down as chairman of breakfast broadcaster GMTV.

He is expected to be replaced under the company's rotating chair system by Carlton chairman Nigel Walmsley. Granada has still not sold the 5 per cent stake in GMTV it must offload to remain beneath the 15 per cent audience share limit.