Carlton and British Telecom Bosses Discuss ITV Digital Investment

15 January 2002

British media group Carlton Communications, eager to find outside investment for ITV Digital – the cash-haemorrhaging digital service it jointly owns with Granada Media – is reportedly in talks with British Telecommunications.

Carlton chairman Michael Green is believed to have met his opposite number at BT, Sir Christopher Bland, for informal discussions. The telecoms giant has been targeted before as a potential saviour for ITV Digital [WAMN: 15-Oct-01], a major drain on its owners' resources at a time of tumbling ad revenue.

Bland has made a series of comments in the last couple of weeks hinting at BT's eagerness to move into broadcasting, though in what role is not clear. His suggestion that the group emulate BSkyB as a producer of content as well as its distributor was countered soon after by a comment that BT would do no such thing [WAMN: 11-Jan-02], though investments in firms such as ITV Digital were not ruled out.

However, it is unclear how Granada feels about potential BT involvement – chairman Charles Allen is not thought to be enthusiastic.

News source: BrandRepublic (UK)