ITV looks to fan out with int'l channels

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CANNES -- Further underlining its global ambitions, ITV plans to launch a range of international channels that could cover such areas as drama, lifestyle and children's programming, new ITV Worldwide head Peter Iacono said Wednesday.

"We have a lot of very interesting drama, factual, lifestyle and children's shows, and it is natural to want to see if we can replicate the success of our domestic channels internationally," Iacono said, adding that the channels would not necessarily be limited to English-speaking markets. "We are looking at how to build up our presence, and launching networks and partnering with other networks is a real aspiration."

Unlike the BBC, the commercial broadcaster has never ventured into the international television network business. ITV's publicly funded rival is growing its global channel portfolio into a significant part of its international business, and channels like BBC America have delivered critical as well as commercial success.

Although no timetable was given, ITV global content head Dawn Airey is under orders to double the division's content revenue to £1.2 billion ($2.4 billion) by the end of 2012 and has announced plans to boost ITV's global production footprint, recently adding indies in the U.K. and Germany to its portfolio.

Iacono, who joined ITV two months ago from Sony, said he also wants to attract third-party producers to bring ideas, concepts and formats to the broadcaster for distribution.

"I really do believe in creating a partnership with people so that they can make money out of it as well," he said. "Let's create some really great programming, and we will find a home for it."

The distributor is fielding such formats as "Come Dine With Me" and "The Colour of Money" at MIPTV.
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