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ITV Digital Channels

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ITV Digital Channels Limited
TypeSubsidiary of ITV plc
Founded1996; 25 years ago (1996)
FoundersGranada plc
British Sky Broadcasting
Area served
United Kingdom
ParentGranada plc/BSkyB (1996–2004)
ITV plc (2004–)

ITV Digital Channels Limited (formerly known as Granada Sky Broadcasting) is a wholly owned subsidiary of British broadcaster ITV plc. It manages all of television channels with the exception of ITV, which is part of the entire network.

It was set up in 1996 and operated until 2004 as a joint venture between Granada plc and British Sky Broadcasting to launch a range of television channels broadcasting the Granada and LWT archives on the Sky satellite platform, as well as other digital platforms such as ITV Digital (closed on 1 May 2002 due to administration), NTL and Telewest (both merged to form Virgin Media).

On 2 February 2004, Granada plc merged with Carlton Communications to form ITV plc, which fully purchased ITV Digital Channels in November.


ITV digital channels viewing share between 2000 and 2008
ITV digital channels viewing share between 2000 and 2008

On 1 November 2004, ITV plc agreed to purchase BSkyB's stake in GSkyB for £10 million. The deal included the slot that Granada Plus was broadcasting on, which ITV used to broadcast its new ITV3 channel which replaced Plus on the same day.[1] The negotiations that led to ITV plc taking sole control of GSkyB, closing Plus and launching ITV3 on digital satellite were apparently completed just hours before the new channel started broadcasting. On 8 November, Granada Sky Broadcasting was renamed ITV Digital Channels Limited, shortly after the closure of Granada Plus left Men & Motors as the sole survivor of the original four channels. As part of ITV's buy-out of Sky's shareholding Sky would have received 49.5% of any proceeds (net of liabilities) from any future sale of Men & Motors.[1]

On 2 May 2005, Men & Motors launched as a free-to-air channel on the Freeview digital terrestrial television service. It was rumoured that ITV plc would replace it with ITV4, another men's channel when it launched later that year on 1 November, echoing the launch of ITV3 in 2004. However, after better than expected performance from Men & Motors as a free-to-air channel and avoiding the issues that led to ITV3 replacing Plus, both channels continued and ITV plc cut the hours of the ITV News Channel to make way for ITV4 and CITV instead. The news channel closed on 23 December of that year with its remaining bandwidth used for CITV.

Although ITV4 started broadcasting from the Astra satellite on 1 November, it was not placed on the Sky EPG until 7 November. Because of this, some ITV4 sports programming was simulcast on Men & Motors under the ITV4 on m&m strand. On 23 February 2006, despite the previous decision not to close Men & Motors, fresh rumours over the channel's future began to circulate due to poorer than expected performance from ITV4.[2] In April 2006, Men & Motors left Freeview to make way for the launch of ITV Play. It closed on Virgin Media on 25 March 2010, and finally closed on Sky and Freesat on 1 April, to make way for a permanent EPG position for ITV HD.

ITV4 is benefiting from extra investment and is improving its audience share.[when?] CITV is the highest rating commercial kids television channel in the United Kingdom, having a higher share of viewers compared to Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

In 2014, the portfolio of ITV's channels was expanded with the launch of ITV Encore, a drama channel, and ITVBe, a reality and lifestyle channel. The launch of the latter lead to ITV2's repositioning as a youth focused entertainment channel.



ITV also operates the following digital television channels:

  • ITV2 (including ITV2 +1 and HD) – a general entertainment channel
  • ITV3 (including ITV3 +1 and HD) – a drama and movie channel
  • ITV4 (including ITV4 +1 and HD) – a sports and entertainment channel
  • ITVBe (including ITVBe +1 and HD) – a reality television and lifestyle channel
  • CITV – a channel aimed at children under 12 years old


GSkyB's logo banner used from 1996 to 1998
GSkyB's logo banner used from 1996 to 1998
  • Granada Plus / G+ / Plus – launched on 1 October 1996, showing entertainment programmes from the archives of Granada, LWT and its subsidiaries. It was closed on 1 November 2004 to allow ITV3 to launch on Sky.
  • Granada Breeze – launched as Granada Good Life on 1 October 1996, a lifestyle channel divided into four segments: 'Food & Wine', 'Health & Beauty', 'High Street' and 'Home & Garden'. Relaunched on 1 May 1998 in order to improve ratings but closed on 30 April 2002.
  • Men & Motors – launched on 1 October 1996, a channel aimed at men. Last of the original Granada Sky Broadcasting channels to close on 1 April 2010.
  • Granada Talk TV – a debate channel launched on 1 October 1996. Closed on 31 August 1997.
  • ITV Encore (and ITV Encore +1) – a drama channel launched on 9 June 2014. Closed on 1 May 2018.
  • The Store – a shopping channel, which was a joint-venture with John Mills Limited. Removed from Freeview in January 2019.
  • ITV Box Office – a pay-per-view sports channel. Closed on 24 January 2020.
  • Merit – a lifestyle channel. Sold to Sky plc on 20 August 2020.


  1. ^ a b "ITV3 to launch on satellite today" (Press release). ITV plc. 1 November 2004. Archived from the original on 15 October 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  2. ^ Wilkes, Neil (23 February 2006). "ITV "not happy" with ITV4 ratings". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 November 2006.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 August 2021, at 10:43
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