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Grade unveils ITV's content led plans

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Grade unveils ITV's content led plans
ITV has unveiled the details of its business review, which includes a three to five year self-funded, content led plan to restore growth.

The broadcaster wants to double its content revenues to £1.2 billion by 2012, and is aiming for online revenues of £150 million by 2010. This is to be partly achieved by growing ITV.com to become a 'top ten' UK commercial entertainment site.

ITV executive chairman Michael 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.

"To achieve this we are implementing a content-led growth plan, built on ITV’s creation and ownership of the UK’s most valuable programmes. Our plan enables us to sustain investment in original programmes and content through self-funding."

Grade said ITV would pay for the extra content by "greater efficiencies throughout the business" and the "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," Grade said.

Plans to increase in-house commissions from ITV Productions from 54% to 75% - the permitted maximum - were also outlined, but Grade added that ITV commissioners will "continue to choose all programmes on merit."

Dawn Airey, ITV's director of global content, will also spearhead a "global content division" with a £200 million budget for acquiring production companies.

The review also sees a £1 billion investment for ITV's channels, including a £20 million investment in ITV2 in 2008 with the aim of turning it into the UK’s third commercial network for 16-34s ahead of Five.

ITV also hopes to increase its share of advertisers’ marketing budgets with new opportunities for advertisers to fund content. ITV's total advertising revenue is expected to grow by 5% in Q3 2007, with advertising income between January and October estimated at 2.1% lower than last year.

The broadcaster also indicated a new strategy offering programme makers the opportunity to retain a share in the commercial upside of their programmes, in order to attract new talent.

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