Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
ITV Digital used to be the sole British terrestrial digital television broadcaster. It was launched as ONdigital in 1998, the world's first digital terrestrial televison network. It was subsequently rebranded as ITV Digital in July 2001. Its main shareholders were the UK ITV broadcasters Carlton Communications plc and Granada plc (who have since merged to form ITV plc).
Following an expensive deal with The Football League and disappointing takeup of its digital TV service, it was placed into administration on 27 March 2002. Most subscription channels stopped broadcasting on ITV Digital on 1 May 2002. The collapse caused severe financial difficulties for lower-division football clubs who had budgeted for large incomes from the television contract.
It had a famous advertising campaign involving the comedian Johnny Vegas and a knitted monkey (voiced by Ben Miller). A replica knitted monkey could be obtained by signing up to ITV Digital. Because the monkey could not be obtained without signing up to the service, a popular market for second-hand monkeys developed. At one time original ITV Digital Monkeys were fetching several hundred pounds on eBay and even knitting patterns delivered by email were sold for several pounds.
A consortium made up of the BBC, BSkyB and Crown Castle International was granted ITV Digital's old broadcasting license, and launched the Freeview service on October 30 2002, offering 30 free-to-air channels but no subscription or premium services. Those followed on March 31, 2004 when Top Up TV began broadcasting eleven pay TV channels in timeshared broadcast slots.
See also: British Sky Broadcasting
Timeline of events
- 29 July 1998 - BDB rebrand as ONdigital
- 15 November 1998 - Formal broadcasting begins
- 1 May 2000 - Formal broadcasting of Pay-per-view (PPV) service ONrequest begins
- 11 July 2001 - ONdigital rebrand as ITV Digital
- 22 August 2001 - PPV service ONrequest rebrands as ITV Select
- 27 March 2002 - Placed into administration
- 1 May 2002 - Pay-TV operations cease
- 30 October 2002 - Formal broadcasting of replacement Freeview service begins
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