MEDIA: ITV.com plans a key role in online arena

ITV.com, the newly-created service which will combine the assets of

Carlton Interactive and Granada Broadband, has pledged to become a major

player in the online entertainment sector.



Justin Judd, controller of content and production for Granada's

interactive division, insisted that ITV.com has had time to learn from

industry mistakes. 'There may be an opportunity in having done less

rather than more over the last couple of years,' he said.



He admitted to being flattered by reports tipping him for the vacant

post of MD at ITV.com, but told PRWeek: 'No-one has offered me the

job.'



ITV.com has been created as part of a shake-up of ITV's online strategy

and effectively replaces itv.co.uk. Around pounds 15m will be ploughed

into the venture, which will absorb aspects of Granada and Carlton's

online offer into a unified ITV site. Both companies will retain their

independence and continue to operate in other areas as usual.



Duncan Eaton, Carlton Interactive marketing and strategy director, said:

'The majority of what we do would fit very neatly into the ITV website.'

In addition to Carlton.com, the company has games site Jamba and film

site Popcorn.



Eaton refused to comment on rumoured job losses and Judd insisted: 'We

are not downsizing, we have done our slimming down.' Granada Broadband's

team has been reduced over the last year to 40.



'Granada Broadband is about a lot more than just ITV. com,' Judd added.

It has the Wellbeing channel joint venture with Boots, for example, in

addition to TV and internet activity with Premiership football

clubs.



These are unlikely to become part of ITV.com, one of three divisions in

a restructured ITV along with ITV Digital (previously ONdigital) and ITV

Channels.



AskJeeves.co.uk, in which both Granada and Carlton have an interest, may

remain as a standalone business.



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