Earlier this week ITV released their results. Net ad revenues at flagship channel were £181m lower at £1.3bn – more detail here.
They are also suffering from a scandal over their use of premium rate phone lines. They stand accused of letting people call premium rate lines to vote on popular reality TV shows without necessarily understanding how much it was costing them. ITV netted £100m like this in 2006 and that could head south rapidly now they are being investigated by the regulator. Currently all premium phone ins are suspended.
The response of new Chairman Michael Grade to their strategic dilemma is to focus on producing better content. That would have been the right strategy 10 years ago, but I’m not sure it is today.
IMHO the reason they are hurting is not so much because their programming isn’t good enough but because media consumption is moving away from TV. This tells me that vertically integrating content production and TV distribution is going to get more difficult as TV continues to lose market share.
I have posted a few times that I think TV channels won’t survive too much longer – maybe we are watching this play out at ITV already.