By Alasdair Reid, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 17 March 2011 12:01AM
April 2001 ...: During the earliest phase of the dotcom boom, ITV had failed to secure the ITV.com domain name - and the focus of its network branding online was ITV.co.uk. But when the domain is secured, ITV's network chief executive, Stuart Prebble, is tasked with making ITV.com a force to be reckoned with - ensuring that it is developed in tandem with the broadcaster's digital terrestrial television platform, ITV Digital. (Which soon closes.)
May 2007 ...: ITV starts getting its act together under its new executive chairman, Michael Grade. ITV.com is relaunched following a £20 million upgrade as a marketing and content portal, offering live streams of ITV programming and access to catch-up services.
April 2008 ...: But it all proves something of an uphill struggle - and some commentators question whether Grade is focusing enough strategic energy on matters digital. In April 2008, Annelies van den Belt, the managing director of ITV.com, resigns. Dominic Cameron, who replaces her on an interim basis, is confirmed in the position towards the end of the year - but ultimate responsibility for strategy is handed to ITV's director of television, Peter Fincham.
August 2010 ...: Grade had given ITV.com a revenue target of £150 million by 2010. In 2008, it took just under £9 million; in 2009, just over £30 million. Now Adam Crozier, who had arrived as the chief executive in April 2010, unveils a "transformational" strategy for ITV plc (making it "fit for purpose"), with far more emphasis on web revenues. He admits that ITV.com had not been delivering a good viewer experience.
March 2011 ...: But these things do not happen overnight. Now Crozier indicates that he really does mean business. He says: "Online, we have a lot of work to do. We have a six-point plan to improve our online position and we need to get fit for purpose."
Fast forward ... April 2014: And, indeed, some progress is made, with digital revenues projected to exceed £50 million by 2015. But ITV.com is given a huge boost when the incoming ITV chief executive, Elisabeth Murdoch, pledges to make it a number-one priority. She announces a seven-point plan to make it "fit for purpose" by building on the "transformational leadership" that ITV.com has established in the online sector over the past decade.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk