Carlton and Granada are to relaunch the channel in the autumn after buying ITN's 65 per cent stake. Cable operator NTL will retain its 35 per cent stake. As a result, ITN will go from funding the loss-making service to being paid to provide content for the channel. Its news supply agreement with the rebranded channel runs until 2009, as does the news provider's £35m contract with ITV 1.
In addition to being rebranded as the ITV News Channel, the service will be promoted on the network after cross-promotion rules were relaxed by the Independent Television Commission earlier this year. The channel's management will now report editorially to ITV controller of news, current affairs, religion and arts Steve Anderson.
Carlton and Granada are keen to focus on their channel proposition in the wake of the collapse of ITV Digital. The proposed ITV News Channel is one of the free 24-hour offerings in ITV's joint bid with Channel 4 to run two of ITV Digital's former DTT multiplexes.
Carlton and Granada already each own 20 per cent of ITN alongside United Business Media, Reuters and the Daily Mail & General Trust.