ITV Chairman Looks to Future of Local Programmes

03 July 2007

LONDON: In a bid to improve revenue streams for local programming, Michael Grade, executive chairman of the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV, has proposed an exchange of extra advertising minutes for every hour of regional programming it airs.

Speaking at an Ofcom conference in Wales, he announced that ITV is to overhaul its regional offerings, ahead of a review of public service broadcasting by the regulator in this autumn.

Grade told the meeting that local programmes must be developed with "a stronger revenue model and a more affordable cost base", as they currently cost around £100 million ($200.9m; €148m) a year to provide, and bring in minimal cash returns.

The extra commercial airtime solution proposed by Grade, would increase the seven minutes now allowed on its flagship ITV1 channel to the nine minutes permitted on digital channels.

Grade also said he would seek rationalisation of ITV's fifteen regions, created when the company first launched 52 years ago. It might not be viable in future tp deploy the same level of resources across all regions.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff