Changing viewing habits prompt restructure at ITV | Major Businesses | Business
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
In a clear indication of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s broadcasting industry, the country’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV is to restructure its broadcast business in a bid to better reflect and serve what it says are changing viewing habits.
ITV logo large 19 Oct 2020
As it released its results for the first half of 2020, ITV said that the current times were among the most challenging that the company had faced and that the future was still uncertain due to Covid-19. For the half year ended 30 June 2020 ITV reported marked falls in revenue benchmarks across its key busines lines and suffered from not just secular declines in advertising but also from the decision taken by ITV Studios in mid-March to pause the majority of its productions globally as a result of the restrictions on working practices.

The shake-up will see ITV will establish a new media and entertainment division with two new business units - Broadcast and On-Demand. The former business line will continue to deliver what ITV says is its USP of mass simultaneous reach. The broadcaster’s main channel claims 95% of commercial audiences over five million and will remain the home of what the firm calls its award-winning drama, entertainment shows, sport and ITV’s news and daytime shows.

As its name suggests, the On-Demand business unit will be the focus of digital product development and growth for ITV. It will aim to grow online offerings by providing new content that appeals to audiences who already do most or all of their viewing on-demand and ITV assures that it will serve it to them in whatever way they want to access it. This unit will include Hub, Hub+, the ad free version of the Hub, and the BritBox joint venture SVOD service that ITV co-owns with the BBC.

Kevin Lygo, currently ITV’s director of television, will be MD of the Media and Entertainment Division and he will continue to run the Broadcast business unit. Rufus Radcliffe, currently ITV’s chief marketing officer, will head up On-Demand. As a result of this restructure ITV will be recruiting a new CMO as well as a new chief operations officer for Media and Entertainment. Both of these new roles will report to Kevin Lygo.

Similar to its ITV Studios division, the media and entertainment division will have full P&L responsibility for all its activities, costs and revenue. Both divisions will be supported by what ITV promises will be leaner central support services. As well as aligning resources and investments clearly to the two main ways of viewing, ITV believes that the restructure will drive improvements in efficiency and reduce cost. The process of restructuring has now started and will be fully complete by the end of March 2021.

Commenting on the announcement, Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO 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. 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.”

ITV also plans to reduce its London office space over the coming years to reflect the changing needs of the business in the context of its digital transformation and the move towards more flexible working as well as taking cost out of the business. At this stage no decision about exactly what this means for ITV’s current London offices has been made as the company assesses the sort of space needed to support the business in the future.