Summary:

ITV (LSE: ITV) has consistently found itself unable to make money as it would like, so now it’s trying to save money by cutting about a sixt…

ITV (LSE: ITV) has consistently found itself unable to make money as it would like, so now it’s trying to save money by cutting about a sixth of its workforce (via release)…

ITV News: Having got Ofcom’s green light to shrink its regional news commitment, it’s beginning consultations to cut about 430 jobs across ITV News next year, leading to the £40 million savings it earmarked a year ago.

Misc cuts: The company said 425 jobs have already gone from finance, press and publicity, brand and commercial and ITV Global Content, with another 75 in the final consultation stages – designed to execute both a £41 million saving between 2006 and 2008, and a further £35 million saving by 2010 that it was forced to commit to in its earnings last month.

Technology: But ITV is also today beginning a strategic review of its technology business, which the company just told me handles all its backend IT and engineering infrastructure and is run by CTO Richard Cross. The team has 280 staff, is based in London and has others elsewhere around the UK.

All told, that’s 930 jobs lost from ITV’s 5,500 workforce, for a total £116 million saving – with more to come, the total rising to 1,000 by March. ITV COO John Cresswell said the broadcaster must “keep on top of our cost base” and suggested the cuts are in line with the turnaround strategy new exec chair Michael Grade announced 12 months ago – but that plan has twice been radically amended, with ITV’s lofty £150 million online income target postponed by a whopping two years, as the pace of ITV’s decline quickens alarmingly.

Is this slim-down a prelude to a takeover? If ITV can win Ofcom’s support for abandoning the rule under which its advertising prices are pegged relative to its income, and with the issue of Sky’s stake soon due for sorting, then all things may be in the right position for a sell-off…

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