U.K.'s ITV to Restructure Amid Rise of Streaming

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall

"The restructure will drive improvements in efficiency and reduce cost," with the TV giant also looking at its London real estate.

U.K. TV giant ITV said on Monday that it plans to restructure its broadcast business "to better reflect and serve changing viewing habits" amid the rise of streaming.

ITV said it would create a new media and entertainment division with two new business units - broadcast and on-demand.

ITV said both divisions will "be supported by leaner central support services," a sign of  job cuts. "The restructure will drive improvements in efficiency and reduce cost." ITV didn't give details for the expected number of job cuts and savings, but said the process of restructuring "has now started and will be fully complete by the end of March 2021."

ITV also plans to reduce its London office space over the coming years "to reflect the changing needs of the business in the context of its digital transformation and the move towards more flexible working as well as taking cost out of the business." No decision about exactly what this means for ITV’s current London offices has been made.

The new broadcast division will continue to focus on ITV's mass reach TV business, including the flagship ITV channel.

The on-demand business unit will be "the focus of digital product development and growth for ITV," it added. "It will grow ITV’s online offering by providing new content that appeals to audiences who already do most or all of their viewing on demand and will serve it to them in whatever way they want to access it." This unit will include on-demand service Hub, Hub+ (the advertising-free version of the Hub) and subscription VOD service BritBox.

Kevin Lygo, currently ITV’s director of television, will become managing director of the media and entertainment unit and continue to run the broadcast business unit. Rufus Radcliffe, currently ITV’s chief marketing officer, will head up the on-demand unit.

Said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall: “Our new media and entertainment division will enable ITV to continue to deliver mass, live audiences while investing in the future to create the sort of content and viewing experience that younger, and other harder to reach viewers want. ITV will continue to broadcast shows which entertain millions of viewers. Most are watched live and that fact together with the scale of these audiences will continue to offer unrivaled opportunities for brands to reach consumers."

She added: "Linear channels will be around and be profitable for many years but we also need an on-demand business, which will increasingly be the focus of our new investments in content and technology and which will be our growth engine attracting younger and more targeted audiences to ITV."

The U.K. TV powerhouse's announcement comes as Hollywood giants, such as the Walt Disney Co., have also been restructuring or looking to restructure to streamline operations and position them for the needs of the streaming age.

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