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ITV To Start Charging For Internet Extras

Adam Crozier, CEO of UK broadcaster ITV, has suggested making viewers pay for extra content, such as alternative endings. At one point he talked about charging Brit TV viewers to watch hugely popular soap Coronation Street first online, but rowed back from that. Crozier was speaking at the Royal Television Society international conference in London this afternoon. Everything on ITV.com is free at present. Crozier said his top priority is to invest in ITV.com, which he said had been woefully underfunded. The ITV boss reiterated that 50% of revenue must come from pay-TV, online and selling formats overseas, compared with 26% today. He’s not interested in making shows available on content aggregators such as Hulu though. TV commissions will be influenced by how they translate online, he said. “The first thing we need to turn is turn ITV.com into a really robust site,” said Crozier, who joined ITV as CEO in April. Increasing the amount of programming produced in-house by production arm ITV Studios is another priority. In-house only accounts for 47% of programme commissions, he said – and drops to 16% if you strip long-running soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale out. ITV is looking to acquire independent production companies to beef up ITV Studios. “We need to focus on more long-running renewable series,” he said. “Owning more rights is key to our future.” Crozier said that ITV’s historic problems haven’t stemmed from not knowing what to do but “a … Read More »

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Jeff Bewkes: ‘Network TV Has Whip-Hand Over YouTube And iTunes’

Time Warner’s chairman and CEO says he asks what TV aggregators can do for his channels rather than the other way round. “New entrants such as Google , Amazon and Apple must support or improve programming going into the marketplace,” said Bewkes, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference in London this afternoon. For example, Time Warner keeps full-length shows off YouTube. The Time Warner boss predicted a shake-out among internet companies. Whatever was new on the internet, whether it’s a Google search engine or Facebook social media, tends to be winner takes all, he said.

Bewkes argued that with TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire, which will come to UK Sky next year, TV is having its 2nd golden age. Partly this is because TV has kept pace with technology, from digital to HD to 3D. “We’re in the midst of a TV renaissance,” Bewkes tub-thumped. Bewkes singled out UK-originated shows such as Shameless, The Office, American Idol and X Factor as examples of quality TV. “The cultural impact of TV is now greater than movies. TV has become the most innovative medium in pop culture today. And it comes from increasing quality. Television is very healthy right now; TV is the only medium which has increased its audience apart from the internet.”

Given that 80% of Time Warner revenue comes from TV, Bewkes said he’d restructured the media giant as mainly a video programming business. “AOL was meant … Read More »

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