ITV to cut 600 jobs, 3+4+5 merger just an "illustrative slide"
The collapse of ad revenue in the last half of last year has hit ITV revenues, with profits for 2008 dropping 41%.
But ITV plc points out that audience decline has been reversed and share of advertising revenue has increased.
Boss Michael Grade says that the channel will continue to have a big presence in Leeds (with the documentaries unit and "Emmerdale Farm"), closing the main building and cancel drama "up there").
Overall ITV plc will be losing about 600 staff, plus 70 unfilled posts "sadly".
Future is "phenomenal" "audience government and advertisers wants ITV to succeed", but there has been a collapse in advertising market.
The "content led recovery" though 2012 as this is the key to future shareholder value.
ITV has only 12 hours of US production per year. More people watching ITV today for the first time in 10 years (but not as many as a decade ago).
Grade agrees that ITV is a "shadow of the days when it had a monopoly" is view of a "misty eyed age". today ITV plc is "fighting Google, Sky and the BBC"
Grade admits that "we were late into the internet. " but now "ITV.com is 5th most popular website" in the UK and the BBC "Iplayer has taken industry by storm", helping full-length on-demand viewing on ITV.com.
And for digital TV, "we were late, but our digital channels are growing fast"
But ITV wants rid of all regulation. The "regulatory regime does not allow maximum value for the shareholders".
On a merger with C4 and FIVE, Grade says "Get it into perspective: that was blue skies thinking", it was an "illustrative slide" for Ofcom and ITV is "not proposing it".
Grade is optimistic for the future: "When the recession lifts we are going to be in fantastic shape."