ITV marketing director Jim Hytner must be looking for a new job. Or so thought many in his audience at a Mediatel Question Time debate in London earlier this week.
Within the ITV bunker it is not seen as a canny career move to publicly criticize Michael Green and Charles Allen, the respective chairmen of Carlton Communications and Granada Media. But this did not deter Hytner from publicly telling the duo to quit interfering in the running of the channels.
“Without commenting on my bosses, the Network Centre needs to have people independent of the money men. The recent good ratings aren’t because of Charles and Michael, they're because of strategy and investment. If, due to the [mooted] merger, there is more fiddling from outside that wouldn't be a good thing,” he said.
Hytner also hit out at the extant structure of ITV and hyped the benefits of a Carlton/Granada merger : “It’s a dysfunctional system, a dysfunctional company that was created fifty years ago when there weren’t 250 channels in competition and a cash rich BBC. We need to maximise our budget and maximise our marketing. The savings and improved decision making will allow ITV to compete again.”
Singing from the commercial companies’ standard songbook, Hytner slammed BBC director general Greg Dyke for the populist drive at the state-owned broadcaster, calling this an “irresponsible, almost criminal” use of licence-payers’ money. “Greg Dyke wants to beat the commercial sector at all costs and this has clouded his judgement on his public service remit,” he opined.
Some of Hytner’s more discriminating listeners agreed with this viewpoint, believing that the dissemination of such dross is best left to ITV.
It is time, Hytner wound-up, to capitalize on the network’s recent ratings upturn and sell ITV to advertisers.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff