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ITV’s Grade Gets £6 Million Incentive In Content Turnaround Plan

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ITV executive chairman Michael Grade was yesterday awarded stock options worth £6 million for drawing up the masterplan he hopes will turn around the broadcast network’s fortunes. As part of the plan, unveiled Wednesday (see post), Grade wants to increase online revenue from around £30 million to £150 million by 2010, with at least 75 percent of that coming from web display, video and local classified ads, the rest from subscription content.

A regulatory notice filed with the stock market this afternoon shows Grade, the day after the plan’s release, was awarded 5,657,042 nil-cost share options at the early-January price of £1.060625 each “in accordance with his terms of appointment”. Indeed, news of Grade’s incentives had made headlines (example: Reuters) when he was appointed from the BBC back in March. But today’s filing marks the start of the real work and means it is this roadmap, developed in the six months since his arrival, on which the package rests. Grade can cash in 25 percent of the stock in December 2009 if ITV hits targets concerning shareholder return and the remaining 75 percent in December 2011 if it hits more of those targets plus others on revenue growth, share of commercial impact, share price and earnings per share. The filing refers to the project as the “turnaround plan”.

COO John Cresswell (2,849,100), director of television Simon Shaps (2,229,730) and consumer division CEO Jeff Henry (1,852,356), who led the development of the new ITV.com, were awarded options based on Wednesday’s £1.11 closing price.