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ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has declared his intention to bring in £150 million in online revenues by 2010 (it’s currently around £30 million), as part of an ambitious overhaul programme to safeguard the oft-flagging commercial TV broadcaster. In a briefing, Grade said at least 75 percent of those online revenues would come from online display, video and local classified advertising, the rest from subscription services and pay-for content.
He wants ITV.com (recently relaunched to include embedded, ad-supported video-on-demand and live TV channel streams) to become a top-10 UK commercial entertainment site, “build online businesses of scale and successfully leverage our content and brand assets online”.
They’re placing a lot of emphasis on those web video ads, revealing they aim to run video ads targeted at individual online viewers – the holy grail of online video advertising. And they want to increase viewership by “syndicating our content to platform operators and content aggregators, generating advertising revenues, earning licence fees and driving traffic back to ITV.com.”
Grade revealed ITV Local (the network of community and local video sites based on the gradually evaporating old ITV regional network) would go nationwide in November. And he said ITV will continue to grow Friends Reunited, the pioneering UK social network that now seems lost in a sea of Facebooks and MySpaces, by adding new features. Though that site’s profile has dipped since its heyday, it actually is the social network with the fifth largest UK audience, according to Nielsen//NetRatings (July).
ITV’s performance has been hit by a combination of poorly-received programming, the explosion of multi-channel TV, a downturn in TV ads last year and what it says is the “straitjacket” imposed by Contract Rights Renewal, the regulatory restriction that caps the amount it can make from advertising. In today’s briefing, the company said its share of the commercial impact amongst adults between January and September this year fell 3.4 percent (but last year it was down 10.5 percent).