In 2018, ITV faced a number of challenges. Spot ad revenues were down, share price was at a five-year low and the business underwent a strategic review following the appointment of Carolyn McCall as chief executive officer. The commercial team refocused its efforts on ITV’s future, to show how it would add value to the business and create value for others.
This involved investing in advanced advertising, client strategy and talent and looking to build more meaningful brand partnerships. For advanced advertising, a suite of more than 10 products was introduced along with automation features, allowing advertisers to build new audiences by device type, hobbies and interests, and to control the entire planning and buying process from their desktops. A specific team was put in place to lead the advanced advertising efforts, bringing together technical, data and commercial capabilities.
There was also investment across the client team, with a new director of client strategy and planning coming on board to support clients’ long-term goals and the introduction of new models for the broadcaster’s brand partnerships. These included bringing 11 partners on board for programmes such as Love Island, combining partnerships and licensing models. Britain’s Got Talent, meanwhile, became M&S Food’s first fully-integrated sponsorship. Other initiatives included the launch of Sponsorship 982, a study which explains how partnerships build brands and the ITV Palooza, a new platform where McCall shared her vision with 700 advertisers, 300 celebrity talent and 200 staff.
The broadcaster also upgraded its airtime management systems. Results were impressive, with revenues growing for video on demand and for programmes like Love Island, while more than 150 broadcast sponsorships were sold.
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