In an attempt to draw a line under a disastrous few months, Carlton Communications and Granada Media – the dominant duo in UK commercial network ITV – are to plough an extra £25 million ($36.5m; €39.7m) into the channel’s programming budget.
The extra cash – expected to be announced when Carlton posts pre-tax profits on Wednesday – will be available for the autumn programme line-up. A hefty portion of the handout is expected to go on dramas that would otherwise have been shelved due to cash shortages.
For the last two years, ITV’s programming budget has been held at £750m. However, the network needs to fight back after the humiliating collapse of ITV Digital and a fall in ratings that saw flagship channel ITV1 lose its lead over the publicly funded BBC1 for the first time.
ITV is currently expected to generate around £1.66 billion of ad revenue this year. Although 2.1% down on 2001, the drop is nowhere near last year’s catastrophic 13.4% slump.
Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff