Executive chairman Michael Grade has unveiled ITV's recent results, including a significant drop in advertising revenue. Grade also announced his plan for turning around the terrestrial channel's performance: better drama and more ambition in its creativity: "We must be more innovative and take more risks. We must be more relevant and we must be ahead of audience tastes. In particular we must regain our pre-eminence in drama series on ITV1 at 9.00 pm." To make this happen, speeding up the commissioning of new programmes is to be a priority. Grade says ITV's looking for more contemporary, longer-running dramas.
Well, that all sounds promising, doesn't it? I'd suggest checking back in a year to see how successful these new strategies have been, but it'll take a minimum of two years for the results to show up on our screen - even with accelerated commissioning as a priority. Let's meet back here in early March 2009 to see if Grade's plan worked.
Meanwhile, commissioning editors at rival channel Five are setting up MySpace pages that will allow viewers to pitch programming ideas directly to them. Broadcast reports that Five's managing director of content Lisa Opie is promising reconnect the channel with its declining audience: "There has never been a way the viewer can pitch an idea directly to a broadcaster. We hope that by flinging open our door to the viewers we will discover the sort of rare and unpredictable talent which will enable us to produce distinctive, surprising programming which will set us apart from our rivals."
Time to start polishing my pitch documents...