STV HD and UTV HD close to Freesat launch

After many months (if not years!) of waiting, it would seem that STV HD and UTV HD (and their respective +1’s) have tied up a deal with ITV which could see them join Freesat once Ofcom approval is granted. Fingers crossed.

News story from Broadcastnow:

ITV will transform its commercial relationship with STV and UTV after the broadcasters negotiated new Channel 3 networking arrangements.

The deals, which are subject to Ofcom approval, will see the Scottish and Northern Irish broadcasters become “affiliates” of the network, meaning they will pay an up-front fee for the rights to broadcast ITV content.

Currently, the two licence holders pay a percentage of the Channel 3 network costs based on their share of qualifying revenue.

The new arrangements were described as “pay as you go” by on analyst, allowing STV and UTV to make payments for content at the point of broadcast, rather than contributing to programme costs ahead of the production process.

It means ITV will assume full responsibility for the costs of the network schedule and the fixed contributions it will receive from STV and UTV also cover digital rights, granting them permission to carry all ITV1 content on their VoD services.

Both STV and UTV declined to comment on how much they will pay to carry ITV programming, including The X Factor and Downton Abbey.

It brings to a close months of negotiations and, if approved, the refreshed arrangements will be put in place until the Channel 3 licence renewal at the end of 2014.

STV, which controls the Scottish TV and Grampian TV franchises in Scotland, will take the “majority” of the ITV1 programming as part of the agreement, but will continue to broadcast bespoke Scottish programming where appropriate.

An STV spokeswoman said it was:

committed to ITV’s flagship drama”, but would not comment on whether it will reverse a decision to opt out of ITV1 Sunday night drama.

STV still owes ITV £10.8m as part of its legal settlement last year and the new arrangements mean it will pay this off in programming stock, as well as cash.

Rob Woodward, STV Chief Executive said:

Today’s announcement confirms the stability and certainty of long term, commercially sustainable networking arrangements between the Channel 3 licence holders,

STV remains 100% committed to its public service broadcasting credentials, to delivering a distinct schedule for Scotland and to providing a platform for informed debate.

Under the agreement, UTV will secure distribution for UTV HD on Sky and Freesat, as well as Freeview following digital switchover. Furthermore, ITV will continue to handle UTV’s national advertising sales.

John McCann, UTV Chief Exec commented:

The proposed new agreements retain the strength offered by the original Channel 3 regional partnerships in the ITV Network but provide the flexibility required for public service broadcasters to operate more effectively in today’s market on all platforms,

Whilst ITV chief executive Adam Crozier added

This agreement, which is still subject to regulatory approval, represents a major milestone for us as it consolidates and simplifies the ITV Network.

58 thoughts on “STV HD and UTV HD close to Freesat launch”

  1. ulster tv are a joke now RTE2 hd is on both sorsat and sky and cable in rep of ireland somebody need to strip ulster tv of there channel 3 licence in northern ireland

  2. wee are only place in the world whitch can not watch euro 2012 in hd on freesat or any other platform know RTE2 HD is on sky epg sorsat irish freeview and cable

  3. yet again ulster tv can not get there Hd on to FREESAT so wee will miss another sporting event in hd I think all the people who read this have to phone ulster tv and push them in to geting there hd channel on to freesat before june 2012 by calling all the people who pay them for there adds and hurt them in there pocket

  4. ONE YEAR LATER… still no sign of the UTV and STV HD services on Sky/Freesat. Very very poor indeed.

  5. STV are a joke. The scheduling over “Downton Abbey” being a typical example.

    It’s now three years since they offered HD on Freeview and they are still “working with ITV” to deliver it on Freesat.

    I’ve stopped enquiring, it’s just a waste of time.

    Actually, for all intents and purposes, viewers in Scotland are FAR better served by permanently tuning to an English region postcode (we watch Granada) to view or record ITV in HD.

    My (Humax) box can also be easily tweaked to take BBC1 Scotland and BBC 2 Scotland as the local BBC programmes on channels 101 and 102, whilst still retaining UK BBC1 HD and BBC HD on channels 108 and 109.

    On the very few occasions we need to watch STV (news etc.) I simply tune in to the regular Freeview channel 3.

    As somebody mentioned earlier, most of the alternative homegrown programmes that STV inflicted on us were embarrassing drivel.

  6. I have a Humax Foxsat box and live in London. if I go to Menu, Settings and change SBT from Freesat to Non Freesat, one click, then I can access ALL STV, BBC, Welsh and Northern Ireland regional channels … only three clicks in all and it’s so easy to reverse the procedure.

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