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Panel Declines to Award License for Fifth TV Channel For Britain

December 18, 1992

LONDON (AP) _ The Independent Television Commission refused on Friday to award the franchise for a fifth broadcast television channel in Britain to the sole bidder.

The commission said it was not satisfied with the bidder Channel Five Holdings’ business plan, although it did approve of its program proposals.

The consortium, led by Thames Television and backed by the U.S. media and entertainment company Time Warner Inc., had planned to begin broadcasting in the London area next year before establishing a nationwide network.

Channel Five Holdings made the minimum bid of 1,000 pounds, or $1,570, a year for the license.

The commission, which has twice extended the deadline for its decision, has been ordered by the government to provide a fifth channel. Because of limited frequency availability it will cover only about 70 percent of households.

The commission said it would now consider a review of available options for Channel 5, including advertising the franchise again.

Thames Television said it may consider a legal challenge.

Britain has four broadcast television channels, offering a mix of drama, light entertainment, films, sports, news and current affairs, documentaries and educational programs.

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