ITV’s MD of online and on demand, Robin Pembrooke, is stepping down as part of a restructure that will focus the UK broadcaster’s efforts on VoD and could result in 40 job losses.
The major overhaul will see Julian March upped to director of ITV commercial and online – a new position – while it is understood that Richard Willams, ITV’s director of multiplatform is also due to leave the firm, having joined less than 18 months ago from the BBC.
ITV announced the changes today, opening up a consultation period with 100 staff as it aims to restructure the department to focus on its ITV Player product.
March, who joined ITV last year as head of digital media for news, sport and weather, will oversee for all of ITV’s online products and activity – including broadcast content, sponsored programming, online communities, social media and the distribution of VoD service ITV Player.
He will report to ITV’s MD of commercial and online Fru Hazlitt, who brought Pembrooke, a former GCap colleague, onboard two years ago.
Under the restructure, March will oversee three main areas. The first is products, which includes ITV Player and syndicating content to third parties. This will be led by James Micklethwait, the current head of ITV Player.
A business planning and insight division will be led by Rob Hobson, with the team to monitor user behaviour. The third area is editorial, which will is likely to consist of a smaller group of multi-skilled producers that will work across all products, such as apps and ITV sites. An editorial head is yet to be named.
Pembroke, who joined ITV in 2010 will leave the company at the end of the summer. March previously worked at Sky, latterly as head of digital.
“Online has an increasingly important part to play in our transformation strategy as the behaviour of our audiences evolves and changes across multiple platforms. As a commercial broadcaster it is vital that ITV’s focus continues to reflect that changing consumer behaviour in order to achieve the best commercial opportunities,” said Hazlitt.
She added that Pembrooke had played a key role in improving the “quality, distribution and usage” of ITV’s online and on-demand platforms, and that the rejig comes as ITV looks to deliver “the next phase of our online transformation.”
Pembrooke said that he was proud of his team’s achievements with ITV Player, second screen apps and the relaunch of the ITV News website earlier this year.
“With ITV Player launching on Youview, and our new pay player moving into final consumer testing, this feels like an appropriate time to be moving on,” he said.
News of his departure comes a week after ITV outlined further details about its micropayment plans for ITV Player, with a revamped version of the VoD service due to launch later this year.
This will let registered users access an expanded 30-day catch-up service and have the chance to rent content older than 30 days for a one-month period. ITV will also give viewers the chance to see future episodes of their favourite shows online before they are broadcast on TV.