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U.K.’s ITN goes 24/7

Web, phones and radio to get TV news too

LONDON — Independent Television News, the news provider for commercial TV in the U.K., Tuesday launched its own 24-hour channel to supplement its bulletins on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The ITN News Channel, billed as “the world’s first multimedia news channel,” will be available on all digital TV platforms as well as digital radio, cellular phones and the Web.

The channel will compete with two other 24-hour news services in the U.K.: BSkyB’s Sky News and the public service channel BBC News 24, as well as international providers CNN and CNBC.

Itn.co.uk will also fight it out in the online news market with bbc.co.uk and sky.com/news, claiming to have the technological edge in its streamed video and video-on-demand capabilities.

Competition between ITN and Sky News reached a new level this week with Sky’s announcement that it intends to challenge ITN for the contract to supply ITV’s news programs when it comes up for renewal in 2002.

ITN is jointly owned by Granada Media, United News & Media, Carlton Communications, Reuters and the Daily Mail. The launch of the 24-hour channel is part of ITN’s expansion strategy leading up to a possible IPO.

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