ITV looks to acquire U.S. shingle

CEO aims to boost overseas production

LONDON — U.K. terrestrial web ITV has signalled a desire to acquire a U.S. shingle as part of its five-year recovery plan.

CEO Adam Crozier, who joined the broadcaster in April 2010, is determined to make ITV a scale player internationally, and his long-term goals include beefing up the broadcaster’s production firepower overseas.

“Long-term we will look at international acquisitions and partnerships,” said Crozier speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild.

“We need to get ITV Studios right, but as we go forward we will be looking overseas.”

Asked if he was eyeing up the U.S. he said: “When you look at the flow of content around the world there are only three significant centers — the U.S,. the U.K. and, to a lesser extent, Scandinavia and Benelux.”

Last week ITV Studios announced it had formed a 50-50 joint venture, Noho Film and TV, with two former Channel 4 commissioning editors to develop drama aimed at the young adult market.

Crozier said ITV’s five-year transformation plan was ahead of schedule, but much work still needed to be done.

He drew attention to the improved perf by ITV Studios, both at home and overseas, where revenues are up 9% year-on-year to £224 million ($351 million).

Of 89 new commissions this year, 40 were international.

Julian Fellowes’ new four-part “Titanic,” made by ITV Studios and due to bow in April, had been sold to 57 territories, including ABC in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the U.S. remake of cop show “Prime Suspect,” aired by NBC, had been bought by 30 countries.

Crozier denied that the U.K. version of “The X Factor” had underperformed this fall, and said it was still Blighty’s biggest entertainment show despite Simon Cowell having exited himself from the judging panel.

The ITV topper said Cowell would return to U.K. screens for “Britain’s Got Talent” next year.