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ITV2 logo (2013-present)

is the second of five main channels run by ITV plc in the UK, the others being ITV’s 1, 3, 4 and CITV (Children’s ITV). It was launched on 7th December 1998 as the first of the network’s digital channels at a time when the main television channels were broadcast on analogue only. Known for its American programming and repeats of programmes recently shown on the main ITV1 channel, it enjoys the fifth largest share of viewers in the UK at 2.2% (For comparison, ITV1, as of December 2011, obtained a share of 14.6%).

The station was launched jointly by Granada, Carlton Communications and United News and Media (now UBM plc) as a free to air service although it is now ultimately owned by ITV plc who were formed by an effective by-out, although it was classified as a merger of Granada and Carlton in 2004.

The high ratings and presence Coronation Street enjoyed in ITV in 1998 as well as its commercial advantage to the company meant that the station was the main player as regards repeat transmissions of recently shown episodes of the programme. This also overcame the problems encountered by Granada in trying to interest the other ITV stations then in existence in showing weekend omnibuses in the style of EastEnders. Although all of the ITV stations had begun a weekend showing of that week’s instalments of Coronation Street in January 1989, one by one they lost interest with regions such as London dropping the repeats altogether at the start of 1996.

ITV2+1, a timeshift channel which shows the same output but one hour later was launched on 30th October 2006. This also showed the same Coronation Street episodes as the main channel but in the time-shifted slot.

ITV2 is also notable for hosting the first-time transmission of fourteen episodes of the programme in 2000 and 2001 when the usual 7.30pm timeslot on ITV1 was not available due to coverage of live football. These are the only instances in the programme’s history when the debut transmission of an episode did not take place on the main channel. ITV1 did show the episodes later on the same evening. The episodes in question were:

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