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ITN eyes productions boost

Executives at UK news producer ITN say that the company’s increased focus on third-party productions will drive higher revenue levels in the coming years, proving that ITN is not simply “the news department of ITV”.

In conversation with the Broadcasting Press Guild at ITN’s central London HQ, John Hardie, ITN’s CEO, made the assertion, suggesting that ITN was renowned for its world-class TV news, and was building a business expanding on that expertise.

In March 2016, ITN has today outlined its 2020 Vision to take the company forward to the next stage of its development and capitalise on new growth opportunities. Setting ambitious financial targets, ITN announced a number of strategic priorities aimed at achieving revenues of £180 million + by the end of 2020.

The strategy put a key focus on driving growth in businesses outside of TV News, accelerating organic diversification of output to generate more than 50 per cent of total revenues by 2020.

It also envisaged an expansion of ITN’s total footprint, including a push to grow its US presence five-fold over the period to generate 10 per cent of revenues by 2020.

ITN has reorganise its operations into two business divisions: Broadcast News and ITN Productions. As supplier to all three commercial PSBs, Broadcast News comprises the multi award-winning news services for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. This business will continue to be the single largest contributor to ITN’s revenues and its editors report directly to Hardie.

ITN Productions is made up of four new distinct businesses; TV Production; Sports Production; Advertising Production and Digital Content Services. ITN Productions is led by Mark Browning as group managing director, with the success of the division being seen a game-changer for ITN, ranked already as one of the biggest independent producers in the UK.

Hardie said that he saw “plenty of head room” in the markets covered by the production business, suggesting it was “a very good time” to be in the sector. Browning accepted that, in the early stages of the business’s operations, it was “a small market player in very big markets”, but was buoyed by the fact that players only needed to have a small share of that market to succeed.

Although unwilling to discuss detailed discussions about future projects and clients, Hardie admitted that “there’s hardly a significant company we’re not talking to about some form of television.

Browning and Hardie’s comments came as ITN Productions revealed that it was to produce a series of unique programmes for Channel 4 documenting the epic transformation of the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell, also known as Big Ben.

The three-year film project by ITN Productions and Channel 4 will span the full conservation project. Three prime-time documentaries, broadcast over the three-year conservation period, will capture in intricate detail the £29 million project.

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