Although ITV has been spared the rod in this week’s ITC Annual
Report, there is still much work to be done at Network Centre.
Richard Eyre and his team of reformers find themselves with a shrinking
share of commercial TV ad revenue, down from 72% to 66%, and
increasingly robust competition from cable and satellite, where ad
revenue grew by 50%.
Better programming is what advertisers want, but, faced with this fall
in revenue, ITV was only able to spend 1% more on programmes in
But spend more they must, because programme quality counts for more now
than ever before. ITV must be seen to be delivering output that
advertisers can’t get from smaller rivals with lower programming
A preoccupation, as the ITC says, ’with crime, the emergency services
and the paranormal’, is hardly making it stand out in the commercial TV
Advertisers like the ability of cable, satellite and - when it launches
- digital to deliver niche audiences, but they realise that they are
getting a cheaper product. As advertisers frequently protest, ITV is far
from being a cheap product, so the more it looks like its smaller
rivals, the more ad revenue it will lose.