Zenith on TV, the seasonal report on Britain’s TV industry from the London office of Zenith Media, contains little comfort for ITV Digital, the fledgling digital television platform owned by the ITV Network.

The parent network, Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, is urged to dump or sell its digital offspring if it hopes to retain its position as “Britain’s leading broadcast brand”. Zenith sees the cash-haemorrhaging ITV Digital as a drain on ITV resources that could lead to a decline in the quality of programme output.

“The whole project is costing at least twice as much as originally planned,” avers the report. “Yet the number of [digital-receiving] homes required to break even has shrunk from two million to 1.7 million, presumably on the assumption of rising subscription yields per home.”

“Fantasy,” opines Zenith. “ ITV Digital homes are famously stingy about premium services, and BSkyB is recruiting the few remaining homes which will want pay-TV at three or four times the rate of ITV Digital. Failing divine intervention, ITV Digital should be sold or dismantled with all dispatch, because this money’s not likely to come back.”

News source: Media Week (UK)