If ITV (LSE: ITV) does have grand plans for its digital future, much of it looks to be on hold while the recession winds continue to blow: according to Media Week the broadcaster is shutting its small Future Technology R&D division and has made four of its seven staff redundant, including the department’s director Simon Fell.
Fell was responsible for launching ITV.com, ITVPlayer, mobile and HDTV platforms as well as an overlay video ad format which allows for ads to be inserted during online video clips. The surviving three members of the division are being redeployed within ITV. The company confirmed to us the cuts are part of the 600 declared in March and that the month-long consultation with staff ended on June 4.
Future Technology was only a small part of ITV — and the four staff cuts are just four out of 1,600 announced since last September. But it’s another reminder of how the company is shrinking its online presence and innovation, a policy led by its decision to sell its prime digital assets — Scoot and Friends Reunited — and scale back ITV Local as a standalone business. It seems like any renewed push into online revenue streams for ITV will be delayed until its huge restructuring project is over.