BARCELONA (Reuters) - The new chief executive of ITV, Carolyn McCall, said she would sharpen how the broadcaster sells its shows to other platforms, improve it online presence and better target advertisers as it battles a tough economic backdrop in Britain.
Shares in ITV fell more than 6 percent when the company released quarterly results on Wednesday, as analysts said the advertising outlook was disappointing and the programming budget in the next two years was higher than expected.
McCall, formerly the boss of easyJet, said ITV created great shows in a market where broadcasters and online players, such as Netflix, battled for content but said it had to make sure it was paid the appropriate amount by platforms carrying its channels or buying content made by its studios.
“Traditional broadcasters are no longer our only competitors for viewers, for advertising and for content,” she said, adding that new competitors were also ITV’s customers.
McCall said the strategy shift would ensure ITV had effective partnerships with advertisers, as well as platform and content owners.
“We are not trying to uproot everything because we don’t need to,” she told reporters. “It’s really identifying any gaps we might have.”
The broadcaster is arguing with cable operator Virgin Media about payment for carrying ITV’s channels.
McCall said she was looking at all of ITV’s partnerships, including with Virgin, but she could not comment on the talks.
The broadcaster saw ad revenue drop 5 percent last year, despite growing its share of viewing for a second straight year.
ITV said it expected net advertising revenue to be positive in the first half of 2018, up 1 percent in the first quarter and boosted by football in the second quarter with coverage of the World Cup, which ITV shares with the BBC, starting in June.
Analysts at Barclays said advertising this year had started more softly than expected. The bank had forecast 3 percent growth for the first quarter.
McCall, who headed newspaper publishing group Guardian Media Group before joining easyJet, said ITV had to do a better job of selling broadcast television to advertisers.
Shows such as “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here,” which reached more 16-34 years olds than any other last year, delivered the mass audiences brands wanted and the company could do more targeted advertising online, she said.
ITV reported a 5 percent drop in adjusted full-year earnings of 842 million pounds on Wednesday, broadly in line with forecasts, while total external revenue was up 2 percent to 3.13 billion pounds.
It will pay a final dividend of 5.28 pence, taking its full-year payment up 8 percent to 7.8 pence.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Elisabeth O'Leary and Edmund Blair