×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall Gets ‘Strategic Refresh’ Underway in ‘Challenging’ Environment

Refresh will focus on online, content, distribution, and advertising

Eight weeks into her new job, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall is implementing a “strategic refresh” at the U.K.’s biggest commercial broadcaster, with conditions tough in its domestic market but healthy revenue growth from its U.S. and international businesses.

A double-digit increase in 2017 revenues at ITV Studios helped offset a decline in the core broadcasting numbers at ITV in what McCall described as a “challenging environment.” Delivering her first full results announcement, she said: “We are very focused on our strategic refresh. This will enable us to define a clear strategy and priorities that will highlight the opportunities and address the challenges that we face in an increasingly competitive media landscape. This project is well underway.”

But she declined to go into detail of her new approach, saying it was too soon. “We are focusing very much on some big themes….It won’t surprise you to know they are really around the areas of online, content and distribution, and advertising,” she said on a post-results call.

ITV’s overall 2017 EBITA profit fell 5% at £842 million ($1.2 billion), while revenues increased 4% year-on-year, taking the total to £3.7 billion. ITV Studios, which encompasses the U.K.-listed company’s large U.S. division and its international production and sales operations, posted revenues of £1.6 billion, a 13% uptick on the previous year. Its EBITA profit was flat year-on-year.

Outside of the U.K., ITV America posted a 33% increase in revenues of £313 million and sales at the Global Entertainment distribution division were up 4% at £187 million. ITV, in association with the BBC and AMC, backs the U.S. streaming service Britbox, which reported 250,000 subscribers. ITV said it is looking at adding original content to the service and rolling it out internationally.

ITV will up its dividend payment, and McCall said that despite a fall in advertising revenues, the fundamentals of the business were strong. “ITV delivered a great viewing performance on-screen and online and double-digit revenue growth in video on demand advertising and ITV Studios,” she said. “This gives us a solid foundation to build on for the next phase of ITV’s development.”

McCall’s predecessor, Adam Crozier, embarked on a massive turnaround plan when he took the helm at the broadcaster, reducing its dependence on ad revenue and pushing deeply into production. The new strategy is not likely to be a complete overhaul of ITV’s operations. “The reason we have called it a ‘refresh’ is because genuinely we are not trying to uproot everything because we don’t need to,” McCall said. “The world has changed since the last strategy was set out, so it’s really identifying any gaps that we might have and any areas we need to up-weight rather than looking to uproot everything we have done,” she said.

McCall was asked about her take on Comcast’s bid for Sky. “Quite unexpected but very interesting,” she said. “It just shows how much money there is around and how valuable content businesses and broadcast-type businesses are.”

More TV

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

  • Matt Walsh

    'Veep' Star Matt Walsh to Lead ABC Comedy Pilot 'Happy Accident'

    Matt Walsh has been tapped for a lead role in the upcoming ABC single-camera comedy pilot “Happy Accident.” In the series, two Pittsburgh families – a father (Walsh) with three adult daughters, and a hotel lounge singer with her med student son – are forced together after a decades-old secret is revealed. Walsh currently stars in [...]

  • Jane Fonda

    'Grace and Frankie' Renewed for Season 6 at Netflix

    Netflix has renewed “Grace and Frankie” for a sixth season ahead of the Season 5 premiere this Friday. The series stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the titular characters who found their lives turned upside down when their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, respectively) revealed they were gay and left the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content