|Launched||22 September 1955|
|Owned by||ITV Network Limited|
(JV owned by ITV plc, STV Group and UTV Media)
|Audience share||ITV Network:|
2.46% (HD) (September 2015 , BARB)
|Affiliates||STV and UTV (as non-ITV plc franchises)|
Independent Television, commonly known simply as ITV, is a commercial television 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. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels. In part, the number 3 was assigned as television sets would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name. Currently, ITV is composed by 22 franchises, 19 of them owned and operated by ITV plc since 2004 (Channel Television was acquired in 2011). Of the companies external to ITV plc, Scottish Television and Ulster Television use their own brands in their own respective areas. The regional companies owned by ITV plc also use their own different brands on their own respective areas as well, the result of a 2002 lawsuit in which Carlton Communications and Granada plc were sued due to their bad efforts of disrespecting viewers' opinions. Its main competitors are BBC One, Channel 4 and Channel 5.