ITV could lose access to a substantial portion of the Freeview terrestrial platform after a rival bidder emerged for Multiplex A.
The Telegraph reports a last-minute bid has emerged for the Multiplex run by the ITV-owned SDN. Should it be successful, the consortium has promised to make “substantial payments” to the treasury. It also says it would increase the number of HD channels available.
Rather than hold an auction, the government has proposed that SDN’s licence be “rolled over’ on current terms to allow ITV to continue its recovery after the pandemic. It would continue to pay to pay no licence fees for the Multiplex for the new 12-year term that begins in November 2022.
ITV acquired the Multiplex from S4C in November 2005 and has delivered he broadcaster with profits of £70 million per year. The Multiplex carries some of the commercial PSBs portfolio channels such as ITVBe and 5USA as well as other third-party commercial channels including QVC and Quest.
In all SDN carries around a quarter of the 100 available Freeview channels.