HC Deb 01 May 2002 vol 384 c785W
Mr. Colman

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the future of ITV Digital. [53218]

Tessa Jowell

In my statement on ITV Digital on 26 April 2002,Official Report, column 594, I promised that I would continue to keep the House updated in coming weeks. Since then, the administrator has surrendered the three multiplex service licences held by ITV Digital, and the pay services are no longer available.

As I suggested would happen in my statement last week, the Independent Television Commission is now beginning a re-tendering process, on an accelerated time scale with a view to awarding licences at the end of a six-week period. I understand that, during this period, the ITC will liaise with the administrator and broadcasters providing the digital terrestrial free-to-air services with a view to ensuring that ITV Digital subscribers will continue to be able to receive these channels, including the five main terrestrial channels, through their set top box. We expect that companies interested may wish to use the ITV Digital assets, and that they will liaise with the administrator to do so. There is a real opportunity to benefit from the expertise and technical experience now existing, enabling a successful business to emerge, and ensuring we maintain our world leadership in digital television.

Jane Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what level of financial support Granada and Carlton have received from her Department for introducing digital services. [53603]

Dr. Howells

My Department gives no financial support to Granada and Carlton. To promote the availability of digital free-to-air television services, the Government have set the percentage of qualifying multiplex revenue payable by digital terrestrial licensees at nil for the duration of their licences. This means that the ITV companies do not make payments to the Treasury on the proportion of their advertising revenue attributed to viewing in homes that have digital television.