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NBC, Disney May Join ITV Bids

NBC and the Walt Disney Co. may be competing for the early morning U.K. commercial tv franchise held by TV-am.

Daybreak TV, a powerful consortium of broadcasters, publishers and industrialists, confirmed it will be among the bidders for the national license to supply the ITV web with its a.m. service.

The consortioum is backed by giant U.K. facilities firm Carlton Communications (which owns Technicolor), Independent Television News (owned by all 15 regional ITV broadcasters), MAI Broadcasting, The Daily Telegraph newspaper and construction group Taylor Woodrow.

Chairman of the group is Sir Paul Fox, former director of BBC Television.

U.S. web NBC is thought likely to join the bid; officials could not be reached for comment.

Applications for new ITV franchises are due May 15. Winners in the blind-bid auction will be announced in October.

The Daybreak TV consortium is to face stiff competition not only from incumbent TV-am but from a rival consortium headed by ITV stations LWT and Scottish TV and indie producer Broadcast Communications. The Walt Disney Co. also is thought likely to join.

Inclusion of NBC in the Daybreak bid is explained by its news provision expertise. Disney’s participation in a rival group is accounted for by its supply of kidvid fare.

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