ITV picks Rufus Radcliffe to lead new on-demand unit as it shifts focus to streaming

Changing viewing habits have led to broadcaster's business restructure.

Radcliffe: oversees new unit with responsibility for ITV Hub
Radcliffe: oversees new unit with responsibility for ITV Hub

ITV is restructuring its broadcast business into two divisions, with chief marketing officer Rufus Radcliffe appointed to head a new unit with sole responsibility for video on-demand.

Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, will be the managing director of a new media and entertainment division, which will comprise two business units: broadcast and on-demand. Lygo will oversee the broadcast unit, while Radcliffe will be in charge of on-demand.

The on-demand business unit will be the focus of digital product development and growth for ITV. Radcliffe has been briefed to grow ITV’s online offering by providing new content that appeals to audiences who already do most or all of their viewing on streaming platforms. This unit will include the ITV Hub, Hub+ (the ad-free version of the Hub) and BritBox, the digital video subscription service created by the BBC and ITV.

Radcliffe joined ITV from Channel 4 in 2011 as group marketing and research director, and was promoted last July to CMO and director of direct-to-consumer. He is a member of Campaign's Power 100.

ITV is searching for a new CMO, who will also report to Lygo.

The move comes a week after entertainment giant Disney announced a restructure and that its “primary focus” for entertainment is streaming. However, Disney decided to centralise its media business into a single unit responsible for content distribution and ad sales. 

ITV, the UK’s biggest broadcaster, faces increased competition from US entertainment giants that are offering a wealth of content through subscription video-on-demand services. Disney launched its streaming platform Disney+ in the UK last year, while Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are now well-established streaming brands. Almost half of UK homes have a TV streaming subscription, Ofcom reported last year.

Earlier this year ITV formally launched Planet V, its addressable TV ad-buying platform, which will enable advertisers and agencies to plan and buy campaigns across the ITV Hub.  

ITV also plans to reduce its London office space over the coming years to “reflect the changing needs of the business in the context of its digital transformation and the move towards more flexible working as well as taking cost out of the business”.

At this stage, no decision about exactly what this means for ITV’s current London offices has been made as the company assesses the sort of space needed to support the business in the future.

The media and entertainment division will have full P&L responsibility for all its activities, costs and revenue, in a similar fashion to ITV Studios, the broadcaster’s production division.  

Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief executive, said: “Our new media and entertainment division will enable ITV to continue to deliver mass, live audiences while investing in the future to create the sort of content and viewing experience that younger, and other harder to reach viewers want.  

“ITV will continue to broadcast shows which entertain millions of viewers. Most are watched live and that fact, together with the scale of these audiences, will continue to offer unrivalled opportunities for brands to reach consumers. 

"Linear channels will be around and be profitable for many years but we also need an on-demand business, which will increasingly be the focus of our new investments in content and technology and which will be our growth engine attracting younger and more targeted audiences to ITV.”

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