Shakeup in UK - ITV to Become a Global, Multi-platform Media Company

written by: Richard Kastelein

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ITV is apparently about to completely revamp its commercial and online division as the company forges ahead with its strategic plan to create world class content, delivered across multiple platforms.

Last August, Chief Executive Adam Crozier revealed ITV’s Transformation Plan, setting out the company’s vision through to 2015 to ensure that the company maximises the opportunities that exist within today’s fast moving media environment.

“ITV’s goal is to become a global, multi-platform media company with a revenue base that balances both the UK and international markets, free and pay TV as well as linear and non-linear viewing,” Crozier said. “A key part of the transformation is to ensure that we have the right teams in place, across every aspect of ITV’s business, to deliver on this strategy.”
The changes to ITV’s commercial and online business will see the division focus more closely than ever before on customers, advertisers and consumers as the company not only continues to protect and grow its TV sales business but also evolves to become a global multi-platform company, building a two-way relationship with viewers through online.
“The media landscape has changed dramatically and will continue to do so as convergence becomes a reality,” said Fru Hazlitt, ITV Managing Director of Commercial and Online, who has carried out a thorough review of the division since arriving in August.

“We are the most powerful single advertising medium in the UK; no-one is better at delivering linear, free to air programming, and monetizing that content,” Ms Hazlitt explained. “But we have to evolve to become the UK’s most powerful marketing platform in what is a rapidly changing, challenging and competitive market.

“ One of ITV’s four key priorities is to maximise the share of our existing advertising business by outperforming the market, and we will continue to focus on that objective, but we must also grow our multi-platform and partnerships business to bring in new revenue streams. We have to make the business future proof and not rely on a cyclical advertising market.”

Ms Hazlitt said that ITV had to become ‘more client obsessed’:
“We need to add value by giving all clients many more opportunities to promote their brands using a multitude of other media as we unlock the real potential we have within ITV across multiple platforms.”

ITV’s creative and commercial divisions are to work closer as a result of the Transformation Plan and Ms Hazlitt said it was also crucial that the two sides of ITV Commercial – TV sales and multi-platform and partnerships – become a seamless operation.

“We must make sure that these two critical business areas overlap,” she explained. “This will help us to achieve a renewed focus on our customers and our clients, establishing ITV as a media company that they rely on to help them stand out in an increasingly competitive market as well as to deliver a better return on investment.

“The team will not only help to deliver the creative and commercial convergence that ITV is striving to achieve overall but also the broadband and broadcast convergence that is inevitable in the market as well as the division’s own convergence between TV sales and multiplatform and partnerships. The ultimate aim is to deliver as well in broadband as we currently do in broadcast.”

The newly appointed Managing Director of Online and On-demand, Robin Pembrooke, and his team have already set about redefining The ITV Player launched on Sony’s PS3 before Christmas and is already driving significant incremental viewing of ITV content on-demand and the focus will also be on delivering fantastic high quality viewing experiences across mobile; PC and gaming platforms with recommendations, social integration and targeted adverts.

Ms Hazlitt also explained that ITV no longer wanted to simply sell advertising spots but create value for advertisers through the Total Value Creation initiative which will maximise commercial value from ITV programmes - including Coronation Street, This Morning and Dancing on Ice - whilst retaining their creative and editorial quality.

The changes will result in a restructure of the commercial management team and the introduction of two new directors with widespread experience.

Kelly Williams, former Channel 5 sales director, takes on the role of Director of TV Sales alongside Simon Daglish, who will be ITV’s Director of Multiplatform and Partnerships. He joins from Fox Interactive Media where he was UK commercial vice president. Both will report to Ms Hazlitt, who said:

“Kelly has very successfully managed the selling process within a national broadcaster, and across multiple revenue streams. He also has a refreshing ambition for the possibilities of a multimedia, fully integrated media business which is exactly what we need to become.

“Simon has led multiplatform and non-TV media businesses, and is delighted to have the opportunity to grow such a business under the wing of the nation’s greatest commercial broadcasting brand.”
In December, Christy Swords moved from his role as ITV Commercial Projects Director into the commercial and online team as Director of Operations and Strategy where he is responsible for strategic, business planning and operational support across the division.

And last week, Martin Goswami joined ITV as a consultant. He will be working with the team to help drive ITV’s pay strategy specifically within the broadcast wholesale pay TV area as part of the Transformation Plan’s aim to turn viewers into valued customers through paid content channels, products and services. His experience includes four years at Sky as Commercial Director as well as two years at Top Up TV where he was International Chief Operating Officer.
“This new top team has real strength and depth with a wealth of experience in the multi-platform world. They will be crucial in helping to deliver the vision set out in the Transformation Plan,” said Ms Hazlitt whose management team also includes Andy Bagnall, Business Development Director; Ann Cook, Managing Director of Interactive; and William Van Rest, Director of Teleshopping.
The restructure will mean that Gary Digby, Group Commercial Sales Director, will leave ITV, as will Simon Lent, Trading Director; Jeremy Lawrence, Commercial Director; Simon Orpin, Creative Solutions Director; David Croft, Director of Regional Sales, and Simon Poole, Commercial Director (Sales) for ITV Breakfast.

Ms Hazlitt said:

“I would like to thank Gary, and those members of the senior team who are departing, for their professionalism and dedication to ITV’s commercial operation over many years. It has given us a solid platform on which to build for the future and I wish them every success.”

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