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ITV: SVoD partnership with BBC and NBCU a ‘good idea’

ITV Hub brandingITV executive Simon Daglish said that an SVoD partnership between the broadcaster, BBC and NBCU is a “good idea” but would not comment directly on a rumoured project between the firms.

Speaking at the Connected TV World Summit in London this morning, ITV’s deputy managing director, commercial, said that ITV is looking at pay video options following the launch two years ago of its first linear pay channel.

However, he said he “really can’t make any official comment” on a recent report, which claimed ITV has held talks with ITV and NBCUniversal about launching an SVOD service to rival the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“For us, we launched our pay strategy, our first pay channel was ITV Encore, which was launched on Sky I think two years ago, and that’s been very successful. So pay is certainly something that we’re looking at here,” said Daglish.

“ITV wants a mixed ecology. We do not want to go back to the days when we…had one single source of income which we only had a small amount of control over.”

The ITV exec said that a “mixed ecology” of ITV’s own content – produced through its ITV Studios arm – alongside both pay and advertising-supported distribution creates a “much more robust company”.

Daglish said that when he joined ITV back in 2010 the UK commercial broadcaster had a transformation plan to rebase the company, lessening its reliance on the ebbs and flows of the advertising market and making more of its fledgling production business.

“The goal within five years was to have 50% of our revenue from our content, production and distribution [from] ITV Studios – both here, and in the States, and in the Nordics. So have half our revenue from advertising and half the revenue from content. We’re not quite there, but we’re very, very nearly there,” said Daglish.

Asked to comment about where he sees the TV business heading in the future, Daglish also dismissed as “rubbish” a previous claim by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings that broadcast TV will not last beyond the year 2030.

“Whenever new technologies come onto the market, they seem to always be predicted to kill the old technologies. It’s just rubbish. Cinema killed radio, TV killed cinema – it doesn’t happen. What happens is the whole landscape changes,” said Daglish.

“TV viewership in the UK last year had a 1% decline. Over the last five years it’s had a 5% increase. That is not something that’s dying. I guess also that if you were to invent the perfect medium for the digital age, it would look a lot like tele.”

He added: “We’re very, very aware of the changing environment around us, we’re very aware of how consumers are consuming our content and that changes on an annual basis.”