ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has unveiled a content-led plan to restore growth to the business over the next three to five years. [ALL]
ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has unveiled a content-led plan to restore growth to the business over the next three to five years.

He has revealed that key targets include the doubling of ITV's content revenues by 2012 to £1.2 billion and securing £150m in online revenues by 2010.

Grade said: 'By 2012, I want ITV to be widely acknowledged as the UK's favourite source of free, original entertainment across all popular platforms and devices, not just on television.

'Reshaped, revitalised and redeployed, ITV's unrivalled assets will ensure that it is once again a top and bottom line growth business.'

Airey's tasks

New signing Dawn Airey, who joins next month as director of global content, is tasked with growing the business by acquiring production businesses with a pot of as much as £200m available.

Grade also said that the broadcaster was looking to new commercial structures to allow programme makers a better return on strong performing shows.

He added that ITV Productions was expected to increase its share of ITV1's commissioned spend over time from the current 54% to as close as possible to the 75% permitted maximum.

He stressed that this was a target for producers and that commissioners were still expected to pick programmes on merit.

Cost cuts

Grade mooted cost-cutting measures would be necessary to deliver results. He said: 'Our plan enables us to sustain investment in original programmes and content through self-funding.

'We will pay for new investment in content through greater efficiencies throughout the business and for major new business investments and acquisitions out of disposals of remaining non-core assets. This is a plan rooted in self-help.

'Our priority is to put our own house in order, making our assets work better, harder and more in tune with each other.'

The broadcaster is aiming to achieve a 38.5% share of commercial impacts across our channels in 2012.

Director of television Simon Shaps is launching a new peak time strategy for 2008 in a bid to increase the number of ABC1 adults.

Advertiser opportunities

Grade said that he expected ITV1's recovery could be achieved within its existing programme budget of around £1bn but said there would be increased opportunities for advertisers to fund content.

The executive chairman also said the old £6 billion television advertising and programme market that ITV used to compete in had been replaced by a market worth double that.

He said the new market included new types of advertising and 'new and diverse revenue streams, all driven by our premium, mass appeal content, free to the consumer and valued by our advertisers.'

Following the premium rate phone in scandals that have rocked the industry this year, the broadcaster revealed that it will phase out its late night ITV Play strand by the end of the year.