Organisation: ITV Digital
Issue: Company's future
Speculation abounded over the future of pay-TV company ITV Digital last
week as the media tuned into the 'TV sideshow' (The Guardian, 20/10) of
the 'troubled business' (FT.com, 22/10) and its co-owners Granada and
Whether the two companies, under pressure from their shareholders amid
falling share prices and a huge slump in advertising revenues, were
ready to pull the plug was a question raised time and again by
commentators keeping an eye on this particularly compelling soap
What was certain was that ITV Digital was in 'crisis and the analysts
are baying for blood'. Nick Higham on BBC News Online (22/10) echoed the
often-made point that the company was a 'big drain on the resources of
Carlton and Granada'.
Using a piggy-in-the-middle analogy - being bullied on one side by Sky
and the other by the cable companies - The Daily Telegraph (20/10)
wrote '... this piggy is now worth more dead than alive.'
The Murdoch-owned News of the World (21/10) appeared to give ITV Digital
some much-needed publicity oxygen with a double-page featuring
Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs in an apron, apparently part of the
ongoing couch-potato vs monkey TV ads.
ITV Digital chief executive Stuart Prebble,argued in The Guardian
(22/10) that the future of digital TV in Britain rested on the success
of his company, in the face of Sky's 'total monopoly ownership of
To add injury to insult, BskyB shares rose sharply as traders speculated
that ITV Digital subscribers would defect to Sky Digital.
While City correspondents kept their fingers on the button in reporting
the fluctuating share prices of Carlton and Granada, it was a largely
neutral media reporting on whether ITV Digital can 'outrun the mob'
(mediaguardian.co.uk. 22/10), with plenty of theory from analysts but
few quotes from company insiders.
'All options are under consideration,' was all Gerry Murphy, CEO of
'debt-laden' Carlton (The Guardian 20/10), had to say.
Many took that to mean the end of the series and led to headlines such
as 'Carlton hints at ITV Digital closure' (ftmarketwatch.com,
What happens next is under discussion.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found