More cost-cutting ahead for ITV

While BSkyB decides to appeal antitrust decision

LONDON -- ITV chief operating officer John Cresswell has warned staff at the commercial broadcaster of yet more cost-cutting as the economic climate and advertising revenues continue to deteriorate here.

The news came as BSkyB said it would appeal antitrust regulators’ decision to force it to sell down its 17.9% stake in the leading British commercial broadcaster, which airs such shows as “X Factor,” and “Coronation Street.”

In an email to staff, Cresswell said ITV would have to “accelerate our plans to improve the efficiency of all our operations,” and that cost-cutting was “urgent,” adding that these were “extraordinary times.”

"There is still a lot more to do, these are extraordinary times for ITV, the economic outlook has worsened significantly since the summer and businesses right across the U.K. including most of our customers are facing considerable uncertainty," he confirmed.

The moves come on top of the announcement in September that the commercial broadcaster would cut 1,000 jobs -- just over 20% of its workforce -- and a further announcement in early November that cost savings of 35 million pounds ($53.5 million) would have to be found.

Meanwhile, ITV’s biggest shareholder, BSkyB, said it would seek leave to appeal a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal that it must sell down its 17.9% in ITV.

BSkyB paid 940 million pounds ($1.4 billion) for the stake, which is worth 243 million pounds ($371.6 million) at today’s market price.
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