Put ITV profits into programming—Parry

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Roger Parry, the man with a plan to turn around ITV, says shareholders must accept that the broadcaster's profits need to be spent on programming rather than handed back as dividends. Parry, chairman of regional newspaper group Johnston Press, is a front-runner in the race to replace ITV CEO Charles Allen.

Parry told Jeff Randall's Weekend Business programme on BBC Radio 5Live that the transition to digital-only broadcasting needed a big injection of cash into programming. Shareholders had to be patient; "give us a couple of years ? you'll probably see profits going down in the short term, but this is necessary to help ITV make the transition to the digital age that we are about to go into".

Parry said ITV needed to get back to making great programmes, a strategy that would see advertising revenues rebound in the long-term. "ITV got so distracted by the enormous effort of putting all the different companies together, so distracted with the arm-wrestling with the regulator and the pressure from shareholders for short-term profits that it wasn't able to put enough effort or money into the programmes," he said.

Reports earlier this year suggested Parry was working on another bid for ITV. He told Randall that he was "going to wait and see what happens with the process of looking for a new chief executive" before deciding on mounting another bid.

Meanwhile Steve Arnell, controller of ITV4, has been tasked with developing new digital channels for the broadcaster.

Lovelace Consulting  |  04.10.2006

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