ITV announced its ambitious plans yesterday afternoon to expand ITV Studios’ scripted business, grow its customer base and expand internationally over the next five years.
In its investor update, the broadcaster said it expected total revenues to recover to 2019 levels in 2022, predicting total organic revenues to grow by at least 5 per cent on average per year ahead of the forecasted growth for the global content market.
ITV is currently the number one commercial producer in the UK, and has one of the largest catalogues in the world with over 90,000 hours of content.
Nonetheless, a key strategy move looking forward is to double the number of high end scripted hours; this includes hits like Line of Duty and Balthazar. As Julian Bellamy, managing director of ITV Studios, pointed out, this has been one of a key priorities for a few years, and since 2015 ITV has doubled its proportion of scripted revenues from 15 per cent to around 30 per cent.
In contrast, the broadcaster already has a strong unscripted genre, dominating linear schedules with shows like I’m a Celebrity, which was the biggest series on TV in 2020, with an estimated 11.4 million views.
However, ITV acknowledged that global demand for content continues to be driven by streamers.
It has therefore stated that it will increase the proportion of revenues from streamers to around 25 per cent: utilising the landscape and creating shows that attract viewers.
Carolyn McCall, ITV chief exec, said in her statement: “The vision we set out for ITV Studios in 2018 was to strengthen and grow our UK and international production business into a high quality and diversified global business.”
“We have made very significant progress and we are now a key scaled player in the global content market, diversified by genre, geography and customer base and we are in a position of strength to take advantage of the growing demand for quality content”.
Part of this comes with international reach, and ITV plan to expand the number of global formats produced in three or more countries to 20.
ITV currently has 60 production labels across 13 countries.