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History

Home > About ITV > History

From our beginnings in the ‘50s, to our incredible growth across a range of digital-first markets today...

Our story is synonymous with the history of telly in the UK. And with our ambitious plans for growth powered by the ITV Way, we’re also writing its future too. Here’s where it all began…

We first started broadcasting in London during 1955 following the Television Act of 1954, which made commercial television in the UK possible. By 1973, there were 15 separate companies with regional broadcasting licences, and the Broadcasting Act of 1990 gave them the go-ahead to merge.

Granada bought LWT in 1994 which was the first big step towards the consolidation of ITV. That pattern continued, and by the millennium, Granada owned six regional licences, Carlton owned five, Scottish Media Group (SMG, now STV) owned two and Ulster and Channel remained independent. The merger of Granada and Carlton was approved by the Competition Commission in 2003, 2004 saw the birth of ITV plc, the owner of 11 of the 15 regional licences.

Today, we own 13 of the regional licenses and sell advertising on behalf of all 15, and we produce much of the programming you see on ITV channels. Speaking of which, we’ve been steadily growing our own family over the years with the launch of  ITV2 in 1998, ITV3 in 2004, ITV4 in 2005, CITV in 2006 and ITVBe in 2014. Plus, our first pay channel, ITV Encore in 2014.

Since 2012, we’ve been scaling up our presence in a number of creative markets, and we now also operate content, production and distribution businesses in the UK, US and Europe. Add our commitment to building our expertise in ‘digital-first’ content, and our dedication to making it together, making it new, and making it brilliant, our future looks just as exciting as our past.

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