Both ITV and Channel 5 could be set free to pursue commercial programming without a public service remit, under an Ofcom report released today.

In September the regulator suggested ITV could drop some of its public service remit, with cuts to regional programming, including news.

That programme now looks set to expand, with ITV and Channel 5 being pointed in the direction of full-scale commercial broadcasting while the BBC and Channel 4 consolidate their reputation as public service broadcasters.

But the plans would entail a loss of public money towards ITV and Channel 5.

Ofcom has not ruled out merging Channels 4 and 5, however. It is a move many commentators find distinctly disturbing, with suspicions that Channel 4 would lose its teeth if it became subject to the influence of shareholders.

Another report on the media landscape, by Lord Carter, will be published on Monday.

21/01/2009 09:35:25