Channel Television has been the ITV broadcaster for the Channel Islands since 1962.
It has a main studio centre in Jersey and a smaller studio complex in Guernsey.
Channel is one of only two companies on the network (the other being ITV plc) dealing with programme compliance for the ITV Network. Some of the programmes Channel Television takes responsibility for include (or have included) The X Factor, Midsomer Murders and the British Comedy Awards. Typically the compliance department within ITV plc will handle all content produced by its constituent companies while Channel Television takes on independent productions for ITV Network Limited.
As the smaller areas of Britain acquired their commercial television channels in the late 1950s and early 1960s, local opinion was that the Channel Islands should have their own franchise.
This posed a problem to the Independent Television Authority as, constitutionally, the Television Act 1954 did not apply to the islands, so the ITA's ability to operate there had to be permitted by means of extending the Act to the islands by means of an Order-in-Council.
Secondly, there was a problem of connecting the islands to the rest of the Network. The solution was to build a relay station on Alderney, which would then send the network feed from Westward Television and occasionally Southern Television to Channel Television's studio in Jersey; this was initially a problem, because the existence of the relay station meant that Alderney itself could not have a broadcast service from the start of broadcasting, and the local authorities refused to lease land to the ITA for the relay station.
This problem was eventually overcome, and Channel Television went on the air on 1 September 1962 - the penultimate ITV franchise to begin broadcasting and serving the smallest population: only about 150,000 people in 54,000 households.
Because of the need for a stronger network feed from the UK, and upgraded studio facilities, the arrival of colour television in the Channel Islands was delayed and Channel could only broadcast in black and white until 1976. Similarly, 16:9 widescreen broadcasts from Channel did not begin until early 2008 - a decade after the rest of the network. However, the digital switchover was completed in the Channel Islands by November 2010, a process which is not due to complete in the UK until 2012.
The station was acquired by Iliffe News & Media, a division of Yattendon Group plc, in 2001.
Strikes and disputes
Channel was the only ITV franchise not to be affected by the technicians' strike in the summer of 1968, as it was understood by all that any strike action would probably put the company out of business. Similarly, it was not severely affected locally by the ITV strike of August-October 1979, when the rest of the ITV Network was blacked out for ten weeks by another technicians' dispute; while the rest of the network was displaying an on-screen caption, Channel Television continued to broadcast twelve-hours-a-day of films and local news bulletins, as well as other programmes from the ITV archives.
Channel Television was not challenged for its licence in the 1967 and 1980 franchise rounds; it defeated a challenger for its franchise, CI3 TV, in the 1991 franchise rounds, with a bid of £1,000 (the minimum bid possible). Channel has since kept its franchise and, most recently, in 2004 extended its franchises for the next ten years .
- ↑ Channel Television acquired by Iliffe News and Media, www.telecompaper.com, 19 Dec 2001
- ↑ Ofcom - Channel Television franchise, retrieved 10 July 2011