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ITV Set to Launch Kids Network

Five years in the making leading U.K. commercial broadcaster ITV is now set to launch of a kids network, reports VARIETY.

The digital channel will be available on all platforms including Freeview, the free-to-air digital service backed by the BBC and BSkyB. Debuting within the next six months, the channel will offer a combination of existing programming, new commissions and acquisitions.

"A dedicated kids channel will enable us to exploit our existing library of quality children's programming and build valuable brands around new properties such as Granada's POCOYO," said Jonathan Lewis, ITV's director of digital channels. "We will also reap the benefits of being the only commercial children's channel on Freeview."

Previously, ITV was in talks to co-brand a network with Nickelodeon. However, when ITV garnered a Freeview position for its new male-skewing entertainment channel ITV4, it had the opportunity to share the slot with its own childrens network during the day.

Estelle Hughes, editor of CiTV, will be head of editorial for the channel. Breakfast station GMTV, which Disney has a 25% stake in, will handle advertising.

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