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Launched 1 November 2004
Owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd
(ITV plc)
Picture format 16:9 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 2.4%
0.1% (+1)
(July 2012, BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Replaced Plus
Sister channel(s) ITV1/ITV1 HD
Timeshift service ITV3 +1
Freeview Channel 10
Freesat Channel 115
Channel 116 (+1)
(UK only)
Channel 119 (SD/HD)
Channel 180 (+1)
Channel 208 (SD)
Astra 1N 10906V 22000 5/6
Virgin Media Channel 117
Channel 174 (+1)
Smallworld Cable Channel 122
UPC Ireland Channel 131
Channel 219
UPC Cablecom
Channel 161/177
WightFibre Channel 7
Internet television Watch live (UK only)
TVCatchup Watch live (UK only))
Watch live (+1) (UK only)
ITV Player Catch up

ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the sixth largest UK television channel by audience share and the largest after the five main terrestrial services, the position which was previously held by its sister station ITV2.[1]


First ITV3 logo, used from 1 November 2004 to 16 January 2006.

ITV3 was launched on the terrestrial (Freeview), cable (Virgin Media) and digital satellite (Sky) on 1 November 2004 at 21:00. It is also available on TalkTalk TV IPTV.

The channel had been available from launch on UPC Ireland, but was pulled on 22 March 2006. This is believed to have been at the request of ITV plc, which had previously barred Irish newspapers from publishing details of ITV channels and regions other than UTV and Men & Motors. The channel had already been (and remains) available to Irish viewers on free-to-air satellite for some time, however it has not been listed in the Sky electronic programme guide since its removal on 25 January 2006. ITV3 returned to UPC Ireland in the Republic of Ireland on 4 January 2010. On 1 April 2011, ITV3 was removed from UPC Ireland along with ITV2 and ITV4 due to the expiry of a carriage agreement between UPC and ITV.[2] UPC Ireland claim that ITV is not in a position to renegotiate the deal because ITV had struck a deal with another channel provider to provide it with exclusive rights to air certain content from the channels. Conversely, UPC Ireland also claims to have been in discussions right up to the last moment in order to continue broadcasting the channels.[3] ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 were restored to the UPC Ireland line-up on 20 December 2011. TV3 Ireland and its sister channel 3e already hold carriage agreement to air certain ITV content within the Republic of Ireland,[4] alternatively UTV is available within the Republic. ITV2 is available along with ITV3 and ITV4 within Switzerland, all three channels are available on Swisscom TV and UPC Cablecom.[5]

ITV3 2006 logo

Originally, speculation was rife over whether it would be launched on the Digital Satellite platform immediately. On 1 November 2004, ITV took full control of Granada Sky Broadcasting, and ceased broadcasting the Granada Plus channel. ITV3 took its channel number and bandwidth meaning all platforms could be launched simultaneously. Staff at Granada Plus were given 15 minutes' notice. On satellite, it is available as a free-to-air channel, and as such does not require an active Sky subscription.

As Freeview announced plans for a retune on 30 September 2009, ITV3 moved to an alternative multiplex. Viewers in areas that have completed switchover who receive their signal from a local relay transmitter and receive 'Freeview Lite', are no longer be able to receive ITV3.[6]


A high-definition simulcast of ITV3, ITV3 HD, was launched on 15 November 2010 on Sky.[7][8] The channel is available through Sky's pay subscription in a non-exclusive deal, ITV has held talks with other providers including Virgin Media.[9][10] ITV3 HD offers most of the ITV3 catalogue of recent drama in high definition, including the likes of Lewis and Agatha Christie's Marple and factual series such as Joanna Lumley's Nile and Martin Clunes' Islands of Britain. An increasing amount of ITV3’s classic drama will be broadcast in high definition as ITV re-masters its extensive back-catalogue.

Viewership and programming

The channel is mainly aimed at the over-35 audience, and much of its output consists of reruns of older ITV drama series and sitcoms. The company are hoping to use it, and extra investment into its ITV2 channel, to triple non-terrestrial revenue within five years and this has led to the network purchasing the exclusive terrestrial television rights to a number of newer and in some cases popular US drama series, such as NUMB3RS and more recently Law & Order: Trial by Jury.

ITV launched a one hour Timeshift channel of ITV3 on Monday, 30 October 2006. ITV2 +1 was launched on the same day. This channel is often unable to broadcast certain programmes "for legal reasons", but the programme in question might still be listed on the EPG.

During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, ITV3 broadcast some of the matches while ITV1 and ITV4 were showing live European football matches which were being played at the same time and in the days when ITV4 was an evenings only service, ITV3 broadcast live weekend coverage of the Tour de France.

2013 rebranding

In line with the corporate rebranding of ITV, ITV3 received a new look on 14 January 2013. The channel was positioned as the "keeper of ITV's treasured and timeless drama", with a new "midnight blue" logo and idents that feature stories told in shadow-puppet style animation inside glass bell jars.[11]


Crime Thriller Awards

The ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards were first held on 3 October 2008, and were broadcast on ITV3 three days later. ITV3 controller Emma Tennant devised the awards to "cement ITV3's reputation as the home of great storytelling and, in particular, great crime thrillers".[12] In 2009, the awards were merged with the Crime Writers' Association Daggers.


  1. "BARB Monthly Total Viewing Summary". 09 August 2012. 
  2. "Bad news for fans of Poirot: UPC is losing ITV2, 3 and 4". Business ETC. 31 March 2011. 
  3. "ITV2, ITV3, & ITV4 channels are no longer available". UPC Ireland. 1 April 2011. 
  4. "UPC lose ITV's digital channels". TheAirwaves. 1 April 2011. {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}}[dead link]
  6. What changes happen after I re-tune?
  7. "ITV plc 2010 Interim Results & Sky deal". ITV plc. 3 August 2010. 
  8. "ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD go live on Sky". Digital Spy. 15 November 2010. 
  9. Sweney, Mark (2 March 2011). "ITV earmarks £12m to hire new talent to break international hit drought". London: The Guardian. 
  10. Sweney, Mark (3 August 2010). "ITV unveils pay-TV push". London: The Guardian. 
  11. Laughlin, Andrew (16 November 2012). "ITV1 to become 'ITV' in major corporate rebrand". Digital Spy. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  12. West, Dave (2008-05-03). "ITV3 plans crime drama awards, season". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 

External links