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ITV have announced that ITN are the preferred bidders for the contract to produce their news broadcasts from 2003 - drawing ahead of a rival consortium which includes BSkyB.
ITV, one of the leading commercial broadcasters in the UK, will begin detailed negotiations with ITN and the eventual winner of the contract should be known by November.
The existing contract is worth £46 million, although press reports say that both sides entered bids at least £10 million below that figure this time around.
If ITV cannot agree terms with ITN by October 31, the option remains for it to return to the other consortium, Channel Three News.
The Editor of ITV News, Nigel Dacre, said: "The ITV News team has worked extremely hard both in delivering a high quality service to ITV and in contributing to this tender process. Our key focus will remain how we can develop the ITV News service to meet the needs of the ITV audience and further strengthen the position of ITV as the country's most popular channel."
ITN has provided the news for ITV since their inception in 1955. Their programmes include the ITV Evening News and ITV News at Ten.
Shareholders in ITN comprise of Granada and Carlton Communications - which together control around 90 per cent of ITV - as well as United Business Media, Daily Mail & General Trust, and Reuters. Each of the five holds 20 per cent of ITN.
Unlike ITN, which supplies news to a number of customers, including Channel 4 and Channel 5, the Channel Three News consortium made up of Chrysalis, CBS, BSkyB, Bloomberg and Ulster Television based its offer solely on providing news for ITV. (CD)
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