ITV Considers Further Asset Sales

24 February 2009

LONDON: ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, is finalising plans to boost revenues in the face of falling adspend levels, with assets that could be sold said to include its digital TV business SDN and US cinema advertising arm Screenvision.

According to current forecasts, TV adspend in the UK is set to see a steady decline in ad revenues until at least the third quarter of 2010.

As previously reported, ITV is planning to offload its social networking site Friends Reunited, and it has also sold its stake in radio spectrum management firm JFMG to Aqriva for £1 million ($1.5m; €1.1m).

SDN, which hosts channels of the Freeview digital platform for broadcasters including Five, posted a 44% revenue increase 44% to £36m in 2008, and could be worth around £200m, compared with the fee of £134m ITV paid for it in 2005.

Other initiatives are expected to include reductions in ITV's programme budget, estimated to be worth £1 billion, and the sale of some property assets.

A consultation regarding Project Canvas, a new set-top box that connects to the internet, and which has been developed by ITV alongside telecoms provider BT and the BBC, will begin later this week under the auspice of the latter's governing body, the BBC Trust.

Data sourced from Media Week/Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff