A Happy Christmas is guaranteed for chairman Charles Allen – if few others at Granada Media!

Santa, on behalf of the ITV Network’s largest company, has filled Allen’s stocking with a lavish £2 million ($2.88m) package to mark its appreciation for presiding over a near 50% dive in the group’s share since price it floated free of Granada Compass just ten months ago.

The Ho, Ho, Ho’s will have hollow reverberations among all other Granada staff whose pay has been frozen by the board – and additional bitterness by the hundred or so executives whose jobs are about to be axed as part of an economy drive.

Allen’s pittance, comprising £962,000 in shares and a similar amount in cash, was revealed in the Granada annual report. The Granada board justified such munificence in sparse times on the grounds that “Granada has outperformed the UK and European broadcast sectors”. Added a PR lackey: “What must be remembered is that Charles Allen put in £2.7m of his own money into [the group].”

Some observers also remember that Allen’s contribution (and that of other Granada directors) emanated largely from substantial share awards received as a result of the demerger of the broadcast assets from its catering sibling Compass in February this year.

Granada currently holds seven major ITV licences – Granada TV, LWT, Yorkshire TV, Tyne Tees TV, Meridian Broadcasting, Anglia TV and Border Television covering fifteen million homes. It also owns 50% of ITV Digital, the cash-haemorrhaging terrestrial pay television platform.

News source: Financial Times