UK commercial broadcaster ITV is to restructure its business around streaming and has named the key execs to head a new unit to drive the strategy.
The ‘media and entertainment division’ includes two new arms, with a broadcast side focused on achieving mass simultaneous reach via linear and an on-demand team exploring digital product development and growth opportunities.
ITV director of television Kevin Lygo will head up both operations, becoming MD of the media and entertainment division.
Linear & streamer strategies
The commercial operator, which saw revenues plummet since the pandemic started, said Lygo will continue to run the broadcast business unit, with its main channel ITV offering drama, entertainment, news and sport.
The on-demand business unit will focus on digital product development and growth for ITV, expanding its online offering by providing new content that appeals to audiences “who already do most or all of their viewing on demand and will serve it to them in whatever way they want to access it.”
This unit will include ITV Hub, Hub+ (the ad free version of the Hub) and BritBox, the UK-focused SVOD created by the BBC and ITV, in which the latter holds a 90% stake.
Rufus Radcliffe, currently ITV’s chief marketing officer, will head up the on demand side of the business, with a new marketing chief being recruited. A new COO for the media and entertainment division is also being sought, with appointed execs reporting into Lygo.
The overhaul comes just days after ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said the UK commercial broadcaster would start to commission original programming for its AVOD service ITV Hub.
She pointed to the success of recent ITV drama Des, which was produced by All3Media’s New Pictures, adding that it had claimed a series average of 12 million consolidated viewers, two million of whom watched on demand via the ITV Hub streamer.
McCall said ITV had “invested a lot in Hub” and that there would be a focus on programming “that draws them back in, rather than just catch up.”
The newly launched media and entertainment division will have full P&L responsibility for all its activities, costs and revenue, akin to international division ITV Studios.
‘Efficiencies & reducing costs’
The broadcaster added that the media and entertainment division’s arms will be “supported by leaner central support services”, with the restructure designed to “drive improvements in efficiency and reduce cost”. Restructuring has begun and will be fully complete by the end of March, ITV said.
“Our new Media and Entertainment Division will enable ITV to continue to deliver mass, live audiences while investing in the future to create the sort of content and viewing experience that younger, and other harder to reach viewers want,” McCall said of today’s announcement.
“ITV will continue to broadcast shows which entertain millions of viewers. Most are watched live and that fact together with the scale of these audiences will continue to offer unrivalled opportunities for brands to reach consumers. Linear channels will be around and be profitable for many years but we also need an on demand business which will increasingly be the focus of our new investments in content and technology and which will be our growth engine attracting younger and more targeted audiences to ITV.”
The UK broadcaster also said it plans to reduce its London office space over the coming years, partly because of the move towards more flexible working “as well as taking cost out of the business”. Further details are yet to be revealed.