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ITV PLC (ITV)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Wednesday 12 September, 2007

ITV PLC

Content-led Growth Plan

ITV PLC
12 September 2007





12th September 2007


                     Grade outlines content-led growth plan


ITV today updated the market on current trading and outlined a three to five
year self-funded, content-led plan to restore growth to the business.


Current trading


Q3 advertising revenues continuing to improve:


  Estimates                      Q3                  Jan-Oct

  • ITV1plc NAR                  +2.0%               -6.0%
  • ITV plc NAR                  +5.0%               -2.1%
  • Total Market NAR             +6.5%               +1.7%


Commercial impact performance 1st January 2007 to 2nd September 2007:

  • Total TV market commercial impact volume up 5.1%
  • ITV1 commercial impact volume up 1.5%
  • ITV1 adult SOCI decline continues to slow, down 3.4% (calendar 2006 down
    10.5%)


Growth plan

The plan sets four key targets for the business:


  • 3-5% CAGR topline growth over the next three years
  • Reaffirming the target of a 38.5% SOCI for the ITV family of channels in
    2012
  • A doubling of ITV's content revenues by 2012 to £1.2 billion
  • £150m in online revenues by 2010


Michael Grade, Executive Chairman of ITV 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. The old
ITV competed in a £6 billion market - the UK television advertising and
programme market. The new ITV will be operating in a market worth double that -
including new types of advertising, new and diverse revenue streams, all driven
by our premium, mass appeal content, free to the consumer and valued by our
advertisers.


'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.
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. ITV will continue to target
dividend cover of 2 to 2.5 times.  The current intention to hold the dividend
reflects the Board's confidence in the growth plan to rebuild cover to that
level over the medium term.


'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 plan outlines ITV's growth strategy in its content, broadcast, and online
operations.


Content

 
In our content business we want to ensure that we create, produce and own the
best and most valuable programmes. Our objective is to double overall content
revenues, including internal production, to around £1.2 billion by 2012.  This
will be achieved by:


  • Supplying ITV's channels with the best and most popular content to be
    found anywhere in the UK. ITV Productions is tasked with increasing its
    share of ITV1's commissioned spend over time from the current 54% to as
    close as possible to the 75% permitted maximum. This is a target for our
    content business, not our network commissioners who will continue to choose
    all programmes on merit.


  • Growing external content revenues - both from sales to other UK and
    international broadcasters and from new and developing distribution
    channels.


Under Dawn Airey's leadership we are creating a new integrated global content
division to drive growth. People and investment will be moved into high value
genres with 360 degree potential - accelerating the development and production
of long-running drama series, factual and entertainment formats and comedy,
underpinned by an increase in UK development spend. A new strategy to make ITV a
magnet for creative talent will be launched, offering people a wider range of
ways to work with ITV, including new commercial structures that allow
programme-makers to retain a share in the commercial upside of their programmes.
We will accelerate growth through acquisition of complementary production
businesses with up to £200m available to target companies in high value genres
with strong secondary sales potential. This will be funded from non-core asset
disposals.


Broadcast


In our broadcasting business we want to drive the success of our family of
channels. In 2007 ITV plc will invest approximately £1 billion across its
channels. Our objective remains to be the country's leading commercial network
delivering a 38.5% share of commercial impacts across our channels in 2012. This
will be achieved by:


  • Maintaining and accelerating ITV1's current ratings improvement
  • Building on the success of ITV2 and turning it into the UK's third
    commercial network for 16-34s


Building on ITV1's recent success, Simon Shaps and his team are launching a new
peak-time strategy for 2008 to improve our performance in the weekday 2100 slot,
increasing our share of 'light viewers' and ABC1 adults. ITV's multichannel
family continues to perform strongly with a 17.9% growth in adult impacts year
on year, and there will be additional investment of £20m in ITV2 in 2008 with a
target to overtake Five to become the number 3 commercial network for 16-34s. We
will continue to support the growth of Freeview and lead the campaign for High
Definition (HD) on the DTT platform. ITV1 in HD will launch on the Freesat
platform in Spring 2008.


We believe ITV1's recovery can be achieved within its existing programme budget.
To contain costs we will be using new talent and suppliers, commissioning longer
runs, and seeking commissions where ITV does not fully fund the programme. We
also aim to win a greater share of our advertisers' marketing budgets by
increasing opportunities for advertisers to fund content.


We will aim to secure a new ITV1 PSB remit for the digital age to allow us to
continue to invest in UK programming. We are committed to continuing to deliver
high quality regional news for everyone in the UK. However, the current
structure is based on an analogue rather than a digital map.  We have developed
proposals to simplify the sub-regional provision and allow the news services for
the smallest regions and sub-regions to be combined while ensuring that all
regional viewers will continue to receive a service of sustained quality and
with critical mass. We will be discussing these proposals with OFCOM, as part of
their PSB review. We continue to make the case for an immediate start to the CRR
review process, with a view to concluding in time for the 2009 deal round late
in 2008.


ITV Play's Call TV programming will be phased out by the end of this year as
negative publicity following compliance problems across the sector has seen call
volumes drop to uneconomic levels.


Online


In our consumer business, led by Jeff Henry, our objective is to deliver £150m
in online revenues by 2010, with at least 75% to come from online display, video
and local classified advertising. The balance will come from subscription and
transactional services. This will be achieved by:


  • Growing ITV.com into a top-10 UK commercial entertainment site
  • Building online businesses of scale and successfully leveraging our
    content and brand assets online


As the first broadcaster in the UK to offer streamed advertiser-funded video,
ITV is well placed to secure a substantial share of this fast growing market.
Particular priority is being given to our sales of individually targeted ads
into online video streams. Viewing of ITV on-demand content will be increased by
syndicating our content to platform operators and content aggregators,
generating advertising revenues, earning licence fees and driving traffic back
to ITV.com. We are developing new online businesses, such as online gaming, and
specialist sites around key programming and other online communities. We will
continue to build our local community service, ITV Local, with national roll out
completed in November. We will grow Friends Reunited as a key asset, adding
features and functionality to drive traffic and usage.


ITV plc's presentation is available at www.itvplc.com from 0900.


ENDS.


For further information please contact:

ITV plc

0844 881 8000


Press enquiries:

Brigitte Trafford, Group Communications Director

Jim Godfrey, Director of Corporate Affairs



Analysts' enquiries:

James Tibbitts, Company Secretary

Georgina Blackburn, Head of Investor Relations



Tulchan Communications Group

0207 353 4200

Andrew Grant

Susanna Voyle

David Allchurch


                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange                  BFR