ITV launches ‘Selfridge’ skein

Revenue at production arm grows 10%

U.K. terrestrial web ITV is hoping another Edwardian drama can repeat the success of “Downton Abbey” as it announced a 10% growth in revenue at its production arm in 2011.

The new 10-parter, “Mr. Selfridge,” scripted by Andrew Davies, tells the story of U.S. entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of high-end London department store Selfridge’s.

Aimed at the global TV market, “Mr. Selfridge” will bow at next month’s Mip TV sales mart in Cannes.

ITV Studios global entertainment managing director Maria Kyriacou said, ” ‘Mr Selfridge’ is a big ambitious drama with clear international appeal; we’re confident it will be a target for broadcasters looking to invest early in elaborate, high-volume scripted content.”

There are no casting details at present.

With luck, the show will be a big earner for ITV, which commissioned “Downton Abbey” but didn’t make any real money from it because it is produced by NBCUniversal-owned Carnival.

However, ITV CEO Adam Crozier hailed the perf of ITV Studios as he highlighted the hike in non-advertising revenues of £93 million ($148 million) as clear evidence of progress in rebalancing the web’s business and its ability to diversify revenue streams.

Total revenues at ITV Studios grew 10% to $976 million, fuelled by international production, including 111 new commissions in 2011, 66 in the U.K. and 45 internationally.

The ITV-led co-production of “Titanic” has been sold to 86 countries.

Overall, ITV reported a 14% increase in pre-tax profits to $521 million in 2011.

Crozier said that “in time” ITV might consider growing its production activities by making acquisitions. But the focus was on organic growth and he ruled out any interest in buying Endemol.

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