'We'll Save £100m,' Claim Betrothed ITV Duo

27 November 2003

Upcoming cost savings of £100 million ($169.82m; €143.66m) are predicted by betrothed ITV duo Carlton Communications and Granada, the companies announced Tuesday.

The fiscal surgery will free-up cash nearly twice that originally estimated -- even allowing for a one-off charge this year of £73m to cover the cost of hundreds of layoffs.

Three hundred jobs are already scheduled for the chop, mainly in the advertising sales departments -- thanks to the sympathetic attitude of the Office of Fair Trading toward the controversial integration of the duo's respective sales departments.

Many more redundancies are now in the pipeline, the axe expected to fall most heavily on the companies' respective TV production departments as well as administration and other back-office services.

Crows Granada boss Charles Allen, chief executive-designate of ITV plc: "Our investment strategy in ITV's schedule is working, cost savings are ahead of plan and we are generating strong cash flows. We are making rapid progress towards completing our merger with Carlton to create a single ITV."

Then a ra-ra flourish that'll wow 'em in Wall Street: "We are now focusing on driving ITV forward, growing the television advertising market and building the leading package of commercial free-to-air channels in the digital world," Allen proclaimed.

The ITV partners expect advertising revenues in the three months to December 31 to slip to £243m, down some 2% year-on-year.

• Separately, 1,500 Granada TV staff are set to strike over a pay dispute. Membership across three separate unions -- the National Union of Journalists, broadcast union BECTU and Amicus -- will ballot their members on strike action over imposed pay rises of two per cent.

Union representatives voted on Tuesday in support of a strike after Granada failed make a better offer. Members had been "angered", claimed a BECTU spokesman, at the broadcaster's decision to force through the 2% rise without the unions' consent.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk and BrandRepublic; additional content by WARC staff