March 4, 2009

Britain’s ITV slashing 600 jobs

Britain's ITV television network announced plans Wednesday to eliminate 600 jobs and slash its programming budget, The Times of London said.

The country's biggest commercial broadcaster also confirmed its intention to sell off its social networking Web site, Friends Reunited, as well as its directories business, Scoot.

Current conditions in the advertising market are the most challenging I have experienced in over 30 years in U.K. broadcasting. This is reflected both in our financial results for 2008 and the tough actions we are announcing today, The Times quoted Michael Grade, ITV's executive chairman, as saying.

The world is a very different place from where we were a year ago. The advertising market deteriorated significantly in the second half of 2008 and further in 2009 -- and our priorities are being aligned to the changed economic context, Grade explained. When the cycle turns and the economy comes back -- and it will -- ITV will be in good shape. But clearly these are both unprecedented and extremely difficult times. We know we're delivering a fabulous product and we're cheap for the advertisers. These are difficult times, but we're confident the steps we're taking now will result in a leaner and fitter ITV.