ITV chief: YouTube, Google are 'parasites'

Michael Grade addresses technology conference

LONDON -- ITV executive chairman Michael Grade told technology execs over the weekend that online video giant YouTube and parent company Google are "parasites" living off television shows.

Speaking at the IBC technology conference in Amsterdam, Grade said that the burgeoning online video market is no threat to ITV.

"The day that Google or Joost or any of these people start investing 1 billion pounds a year in U.K. content is the day I'll start to be worried," he said in taped interview shown at the conference.

Grade said he put his faith in the future of linear channels and will be saved by its creative potential, but conceded that his company could be a takeover target.

"Whether we can survive as an independent company is a matter for our shareholders. They will decide in the end on such questions," he said. "People who keep writing the obituaries for existing broadcasters ignore one thing ... that the history of the modern media age is littered with casualties of people who believed in technology rather than content."