Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wise Move By Interim ITV Boss

The new interim boss of ITV, John Creswell, has shown some incisive and innovative thinking by shelving the sale of its Freeview broadcasting arm, SDN, and instead mortgaging it against the company's pensions deficit.

In the long term, SDN is arguably more valuable than ITV itself, since it provides a distribution platform that almost rivals that of Sky, and there is a strong argument for the company to rebuild itself around this asset, which generates tens of millions in free cashflow every year.

Without SDN ITV would be at the mercy of Sky and Virgin for its traditional distribution - not a comfortable place to be in the current market.

What the company now needs to do is to find a backchannel for the service so that it can begin to instigate a direct billing relationship with viewers of a kind that Virgin and Sky both enjoy.

Maybe ITV has found its new leader after all...