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U.K. TV giant ITV doesn’t see tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google as enemies, but more as frenemies, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall told the MIPCOM industry gathering in Cannes during a keynote address on Monday.
“I don’t think they are enemies. I think they’re more friends than enemies,” McCall told the global TV market in Cannes. She highlighted that ITV Studios sells content to the so-called FANGS even as the U.K. company competes against them.
McCall praised Netflix for transforming how consumers view content and getting them to pay directly for it via a monthly subscription. “That is a massive shift,” she argued. “The whole drive on content is also positive thing. Netflix is an important client for us, and they have changed the way consumers view [programming]. And we just have to adjust to that change.”
The BBC has repeatedly called U.S. tech giants a challenge that has been affecting the U.K. TV business and its ability to compete.
McCall also expanded on ITV’s plans to build a subscriber video-on-demand service in the U.K., set to launch in 2019, as it leverages its brand and TV content. She insisted the upcoming SVOD service would not be a “niche” service, like Britbox in North America, which is a joint venture with the BBC and AMC Networks, and will be led by ITV’s own and British originated content.
“There will be at some point original content, because you have to do that. But we’re not saying we will launch with that,” McCall said, as ITV plans to first tests and perfects the SVOD service during a soft rollout.
The exec reiterated in Cannes on Monday that the company’s ITV Studios production arm is still eyeing potential acquisitions as it eyes opportunities in a consolidating global TV business.
The former Easyjet head also addressed Endemol Shine, the producer of such shows as Big Brother, MasterChef, Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders, after ITV recently said it would not submit a takeover offer after current owners 21st Century Fox and Apollo Group put the property up for sale. McCall said Endemol Shine would represent a “strategic fit” for ITV Studios, but said her company had no intention of bidding at this time, without providing a reason. She had recently said that ITV would focus on deals that make financial and strategic sense.
McCall on Monday also offered the MIPCOM audience a sneak peek at The War of the Worlds, an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ sci-fi novel from Mammoth Screen, which has now been presold to around 80 territories worldwide.
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