Carlton Communications
Carlton Communications was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 media company. It was led by Michael Green
Michael Green (television magnate)
Michael Philip Green is a British businessman.He attended Haberdashers' Aske's School in Elstree, Hertfordshire on a scholarship and left, aged 17, with four O-Levels....

 and listed on the London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London within the United Kingdom. , the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$3.7495 trillion, making it the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement...

 from 1983 until 2 February 2004, when it taken over by Granada plc to form ITV plc
ITV plc
ITV plc is a British media company that operates 12 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, the oldest and largest commercial terrestrial television network in the United Kingdom...

 with Carlton gaining 32% of the new company.

It is most well known as the former parent of Carlton Television
Carlton Television
Carlton Television was the ITV franchise holder for London and the surrounding counties including the cities of Solihull and Coventry of the West Midlands, south Suffolk, middle and east Hampshire, Oxfordshire, south Bedfordshire, south Northamptonshire, parts of Herefordshire & Worcestershire,...

 Limited, but was also involved in several other media and broadcasting businesses. It was also a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....



The company was incorporated in 1939 and first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1983. In its early years, it concentrated mainly on the facilities side of broadcasting. It only acquired its first stake in television through its acquisition of 19% of Central Television
Central Independent Television
Central Independent Television, more commonly known as Central is the Independent Television contractor for the Midlands, created following the restructuring of ATV and commencing broadcast on 1 January 1982. The station is owned and operated by ITV plc, under the licensee of ITV Broadcasting...

 in 1987; that year, it also acquired Zenith Productions
Zenith Productions
Zenith Productions was a British independent film and television production company which made a number of drama series including Inspector Morse for ITV, and several series including Byker Grove and Hamish Macbeth for the BBC...

, followed by Technicolor
Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

 in 1988.

Its most significant move was to outbid Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

 for the ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 licence for London weekday television in 1991. Carlton Television had a policy of being a 'publisher-broadcaster', not producing any programmes of its own; even its news was outsourced to London News Network
London News Network
London News Network was a television news and facilities organisation in London. It was created in 1992 as a joint operation between London's two ITV contractors, Carlton Television and London Weekend Television, with each company holding a 50% stake...


The company acquired a 20% stake in GMTV
GMTV was the national Channel 3 breakfast television contractor, broadcasting in the United Kingdom from 1 January 1993 to 3 September 2010. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of ITV plc. in November 2009. Shortly after, ITV plc announced the programme would end...

 and an 18% stake in Independent Television News
Independent Television News
ITN is a news and content provider with headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is made up of four key businesses: ITN News, ITN Source, ITN Productions and ITN Consulting. The ITN logotype can be displayed in any of 4 different colours, each of which represents a business unit. This is the...

 in 1993.

In 1996, it increased its stake in Central Television to 81%, and also added Westcountry Television
Westcountry Television
Westcountry Television, is the ITV franchise holder in the South West of England, replacing its predecessor, TSW , from the 1 January 1993...

 to its portfolio. The acquisition of Central made Carlton one of the largest television producers in the UK. As well as Central, Action Time and Planet 24 were added to Green's empire. Meanwhile, it expanded its non-TV interests by acquiring the cinema advertising company Rank Screen Advertising, renaming it Carlton Screen Advertising
Carlton Screen Advertising
Carlton Screen Advertising is the main cinema advertising company in Ireland. The company is owned by Dermot Hanrahan.-History:Carlton Screen Advertising was established in 1996 when Carlton Communications purchased the cinema advertising company Cinema Media , then owned by a venture capital...


In 1997, along with Granada plc and British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

, Carlton bid successfully for the UK national digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television is the technological evolution of broadcast television and advance from analog television, which broadcasts land-based signals...

 licence. Sky was excluded from the eventual company, ONdigital
ITV Digital
ITV Digital was a British digital terrestrial television broadcaster, which launched a pay-TV service on the world's first digital terrestrial television network as ONdigital in 1998 and briefly re-branded as ITV Digital in July 2001, before the service ceased in May 2002. Its main shareholders...

, for competition reasons, and this marked the start of Granada and Carlton working more closely together.

September 1999 saw the on-air rebranding of Central and Westcountry Television to Carlton. This later paved the way for the eventual downgrading of all of ITV's regional identities, though the Central and Westcountry names never fully went away (the news programmes Central News
Central Tonight
Central Tonight is a regional television news and current affairs programme, produced by ITV Central, serving the English Midlands.-History:...

and Westcountry Live
Westcountry Live
Westcountry Live was the flagship regional news programme of ITV Westcountry, serving the South West of England.-History:The programme was first broadcast on Monday 4 January 1993 - four days after Westcountry Television took over the ITV regional franchise from Television South West...

continued), and eventually returned to the air (albeit as ITV1 Central and ITV1 Westcountry) in 2004.

In 2000, United News and Media
United Business Media
UBM plc is a magazine publisher, news distributor and events organiser providing business information services principally to the technology, healthcare, media, automotive and financial services industries...

 proposed a merger with Carlton. However, the parties were outmanoeuvered by Granada, who took over only the television interests of UNM (the rest of the company remains in existence). HTV
HTV, now legally known as ITV Wales & West, is the ITV contractor for Wales and the West of England, which operated from studios in Cardiff and Bristol. The company provided commercial television for the dual-region 'Wales and West' franchise, which it won from TWW in 1968...

's broadcast sides and ITV franchise rights (though not the majority of its production facilities) were sold to Carlton for competition reasons, becoming the company's final major acquisition.

David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

, later to become Prime Minister, was at this time Director of Corporate Affairs for Carlton.

In 2001, the company sold Technicolor and in 2002 ITV Digital (the renamed ONdigital) collapsed.

In late 2003, Carlton and Granada finally agreed to merge. While described as a merger, it was essentially a take-over by Granada - the Granada shareholders would own two-thirds of the new company, Charles Allen would remain as Chief Executive, and Michael Green would depart the company he had built. After the merger, the Granada brand would remain as the name of the North West ITV franchise
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

 and of the Granada production
Granada Productions
Granada Productions was a British commercial television production and distribution company. The company took its name from the successful ITV franchise, Granada Television....

 brand. In contrast, the Carlton franchises dropped the Carlton name for local programming from the day of the merger (2 February 2004) with the Carlton network production brand disappearing from 1 November 2004; even the London weekday franchise started trading as ITV1 London (Weekdays), and was operationally (though not legally) merged with London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television was the name of the ITV network franchise holder for Greater London and the Home Counties including south Suffolk, middle and east Hampshire, Oxfordshire, south Bedfordshire, south Northamptonshire, parts of Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Warwickshire, east Dorset and...

 as ITV London
ITV London
ITV London is the on-air brand name used by ITV Broadcasting Limited for the two Channel 3 broadcast franchises, Carlton Television and London Weekend Television in the London ITV region.-History:...


The Carlton brand, which is now only used by Carlton Screen Advertising
Carlton Screen Advertising
Carlton Screen Advertising is the main cinema advertising company in Ireland. The company is owned by Dermot Hanrahan.-History:Carlton Screen Advertising was established in 1996 when Carlton Communications purchased the cinema advertising company Cinema Media , then owned by a venture capital...

 (and then only in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

), is owned by Dermot Hanrahan.
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