ITV

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ITV, or Independent Television, is the main commercial terrestrial television broadcaster in the United Kingdom. Commercial television was first permitted in the UK in 1955, breaking the monopoly of the BBC (independent commercial radio was not permitted for another 18 years, arriving in 1973). It was organised along regional lines, with ultimately 15 regional franchises (including two for the London area: weekdays and weekends), later supplemented by a national 'breakfast tv' franchise. Although the intent was to encourage regional diversity in programming, regional output swiftly fell to the levels decreed by the regulatory Independent Television Authority (later Independent Broadcasting Authority), most companies broadcasting the same national shows at the same times, and this was followed by the consolidation of franchises under fewer owners; indeed, all the regional franchises are now controlled by one company called ITV plc, formed by a merger of the two most powerful broadcasters, London-based Carlton and Manchester-based Granada.

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