ITV face heavy fine if PSB stature dropped

UK broadcaster ITV faces fines of seven per cent of its annual net advertising revenue, and other penalties, if its plan to hand back its public service broadcasting licences to Ofcom. The broadcaster’s net advertising revenue during 2007 was £1.22 billion (E1.57bn), meaning ITV fines could start at £80 million a year and rise until its licences expire in 2014.

Ofcom has confirmed that under Section 42(4) of the 1990 Broadcasting Act, PSB licence holders who fail to provide the service they are contracted to do face a financial penalty. Another section of the 1990 Act sets out the maximum penalty as whichever is the greater: £500,000 or seven per cent of the qualifying revenue for the last financial year.

Ofcom has been trying to keep the negotiations over the future of the ITV network low key and between itself, ITV and other interested parties.

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