Revnue: $2.28 billion
Loss: $557 million
It’s been a nightmare year for Carlton Communications, dominated by the protracted demise of its pay TV platform, ITV Digital, and the ongoing decline of ITV1, the U.K.’s leading commercial web.
Carlton is one of the two main broadcasters in the ITV network, alongside Granada. The web has suffered from a general slump in ad revenues and competition from an increasingly aggressive BBC1. The pubcaster’s flagship has overtaken ITV as the U.K.’s top-rating channel for the first time in 50 years.
Whether ITV is in terminal decline, or merely at the bottom of a cyclical downswing, is a matter for heated debate.
Carlton was an equal partner with Granada in ITV Digital, which closed in April after sucking up over £1 billion ($1.57 billion) from its shareholders and driving their stock prices down to record lows.
The ITV Digital fiasco has yet to result in executive casualties at Carlton. But it did trigger the exit of ITV CEO Stuart Prebble. He is being followed out of the door later this year by the highly regarded programming chief David Liddiment, who has had enough after five years in the job.
Carlton and Granada held abortive merger talks early this year in anticipation of U.K. legislation that would allow a single company to own the whole ITV network.