ITV content chief seeks global hits

From Colin Mann in London

"One or two global hits" will help transform ITV's fortunes, according to the beleaguered broadcaster's global content chief. Lee Bartlett, MD, ITV Global Content and ITV Studios told members of the Broadcasting Press Guild that broadcast industry players needed to think in completely different ways given the changed financial circumstances.

Suggesting that ITV had previously operated with too many departments, and too many silos, he also complained that the UK regulatory environment didn't help commercial broadcasters. He contended that there was scope for greater relaxation of product placement rules – permitted in principle by EU regulations but thus far resisted by UK broadcasting ministers. "It allows more to be spent on programming," he argued, suggesting as an example that the appearance of vehicles such as Range Rovers in rural-set soap opera Emmerdale would be acceptable and not seen as intrusive by UK viewers.

As part of the drive to create global hits, Bartlett revealed a co-production deal with Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment to create worldwide television formats. The two companies will work together to develop six projects for a range of broadcasters both in the UK and overseas. Teams from both companies will work together to come up with ideas that Bartlett and Fuller will develop further, particularly in the US and UK. Any project that subsequently gets commissioned will be made using the production capabilities of ITV Studios. A number of ideas have already been shared and are in the early stages of development.

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