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ITV is a commercial television channel in the United Kingdom. Previously a network of separate regional television channels, ITV currently operates in England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands.
From 2001 until 2013, the channel was known as ITV1. In 2004, Granada acquired Carlton Communications to form ITV plc.
ITV and its predecessor channels have contended with BBC One for the status of the UK's most watched television channel since the 1950s. However, in line with other terrestrial channels, ITV's audience share has fallen in the era of multi-channel television. ITV is the biggest and most popular commercial television channel in the United Kingdom.
Main article: History of ITV
Following the creation of the Television Act 1954, the establishment of a commercial television service in the UK began.
The Independent Television service, or ITV, was made up of regions, with each region run by different companies. The three largest regions (London, the Midlands and the North of England) were subdivided into weekday and weekend services, with a different company running each. ITV existed in a region-heavy form from its inception to the 2000s, although the switch was gradual.
ITV1 became the generic on-screen brand name used by the twelve franchises of the ITV Network in the United Kingdom. The brand was introduced in 2001 by Carlton- and Granada-owned franchises, initially used alongside the local regional name. However, it became the sole on-air identity in 2002 when the two companies decided to create a single unified playout of the channel, with regional references only used prior to regional programming. Carlton and Granada went on to merge in 2004, creating ITV plc which now owns twelve of the fifteen regional ITV licences.
The ITV1 name was only used in England, Wales, Southern Scotland and Isle of Man until Channel Television adopted the name in January 2006, bringing it to the Channel Islands. It should be noted, however, that as national continuity is often used on Channel Television, ITV1 national branding had been seen on the station for several years previously.
The licencees that used the ITV1 brand were Anglia Television, Border Television, Carlton Television, Central Independent Television, Channel Television, Granada Television, ITV Wales & West, London Weekend Television, Meridian Broadcasting, Tyne Tees Television, Westcountry Television and Yorkshire Television.