U.K.'s ITV Touts Progress, Success of ITV Studios

Adam Crozier - P 2011
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Adam Crozier, the CEO of the British broadcaster, and chairman Archie Norman discuss business and creative trends at the company's annual shareholder meeting.

LONDON - Executives of U.K. broadcaster ITV on Wednesday touted the success over the past two years of their plan to transform the company's business, but also emphasized that the TV firm has a long way to go. They also lauded the improving creative fortunes of ITV Studios.

"I think we have made good progress," said chairman Archie Norman, who highlighted that the company's profit has roughly doubled over the last two years. However, "we are absolutely not declaring victory."

CEO Adam Crozier later echoed that sentiment. "We have made good progress," he said. "We are always hungry for more...We have a long way to go."

Norman highlighted that a little more than two years ago when he came on board, ITV had seen advertising declines amid the recession, production arm ITV Studios had not produced a major hit in a while, and the company was lagging online. "We were underperforming our potential," he said. Crozier's mandate was to put together a five-year transformation plan, because "some things in the television business change slowly" and the company was looking for "fundamental change," he added.

Like many entertainment industry CEOs have done in the U.S., Crozier highlighted that the broadcaster has opened up new revenue streams via digital distribution deals with Netflix and Amazon.com LoveFilm deals.

He said that is becoming an increasingly interesting revenue stream as ITV Studios has made "real progress both creatively and operationally," with over 111 new commissions last year, including about 45 abroad. He pointed out that Prime Suspect sold to the U.S. and that Titanic by Julian Fellowes has sold to 96 countries. New shows that Crozier said he has high hopes for are Homefront and a music talent competition with musical star producer Andrew Lloyd Webber who is looking for a lead for his Jesus Christ Superstar.

Norman opened the annual meeting by quipping that he wanted to welcome loyal shareholders and "probably some less loyal shareholders."

He also referenced road closures around the nearby Houses of Parliament due to Queen Elizabeth II's announcement of the government's new legislative program there. "I suppose [Prime Minister] David Cameron didn't realize it was the ITV shareholder meeting today," Norman joked.

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