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More bad news for UK screen sector as ITV set to axe 200 jobs in restructure

The embattled UK TV industry has been hit by more bad news after commercial public broadcaster ITV revealed plans to cut 200 jobs.

Carolyn McCall

ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall told staff in an email yesterday that the cuts are part of a restructuring programme that aims to save £50m (US$63m) a year.

Broadcast magazine reported the commercial broadcaster needs to plug a deep hole in its finances as a result of losing significant amounts of advertising revenue.

ITV employees will be offered the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy, but some of the cuts will be compulsory.

The losses are set to hit the company’s media and entertainment (M&E) division, and some commercial and technological roles will also go.

Staff at ITV Studios (ITVS), the broadcaster’s commercial arm, are not thought to be at risk.

The redundancies are yet more bad news for TV workers in a year that has already seen numerous job losses at major broadcasters.

In January, commercially funded public broadcaster Channel 4 announced it was cutting around 250 roles. Just days later, Comcast-owned Sky revealed plans to shed around 1,000 staff from its UK- and Ireland-based workforce this year.

Speaking at a meeting of parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday, Marcus Ryder, CEO of the Film + TV Charity, said: “While we’ve been talking here, ITV had just announced that it’s making £50m in savings, which equates to about 200 jobs.

“That’s on top of ITV’s existing recruitment freeze, plus Channel 4’s redundancy announcements, job losses at Amazon Prime and the BBC and the number of freelancers who currently can’t find work. Everyone is leaving the industry, across the board.”

ITV is home to hit content such as gameshow The 1% Club and drama miniseries Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Despite the popularity of its programming, the company has been struggling. As reported by C21 recently, ITV’s profit more than halved in 2023.

The broadcaster’s statutory profit before tax last year dropped by 61% to £193m from £501m in 2022, which the broadcaster said was a result of the decline in advertising on linear channels and planned investment in streamer ITVX.

Revenue also slipped by 2% to £4.26bn from £4.35bn, as a 7% fall at the M&E business, from £2.25bn to £2.09bn, offset 4% growth at ITVS from £2.10bn to £2.17bn – its highest ever revenue.

At the M&E business, revenue from digital services achieved 19% growth year-on-year, but revenue from linear advertising fell by 15% and total ad revenue was down 8%. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation dropped by 56% from £464m to £205m.

After releasing its financial results statement, ITV outlined a strategic restructuring and efficiency programme.

Executives claimed most of the savings would come primarily from “technology and operational efficiencies, organisational redesign across group functions, M&E and ITVS and permanent reductions in discretionary spend across the group.”

However, it now appears clear that redundancies will also play a large part in shoring up the company’s finances.

ITV bosses have started to hold meetings with affected staff and will begin a 45-day consultation process.

C21 has approached ITV for comment.

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