More tuning in to watch ITV 1

ITV boss Michael Grade has said the broadcaster made “measurable progress” in 2007 after better on-screen and advertising performances.

ITV boss Michael Grade has said the broadcaster made “measurable progress” in 2007 after better on-screen and advertising performances.

The company’s executive chairman reported a 2% lift in net advertising revenues for flagship station ITV1 during November and said there had also been an upturn in its audience share.

Mr Grade rejoined ITV at the start of this year with the aim of making the broadcaster the UK’s favourite source of free entertainment by 2012.

With late money still entering the market, ITV said estimates for ITV1’s net advertising revenues (NAR) in December also continued to improve.

Across the second half of 2007, ITV said it expected NAR for ITV1 to be flat with the figure for all of ITV’s channels showing a 3.5% improvement.

In terms of ITV’s viewing performance, the company’s volume of commercial impacts – audience share – rose 3.1% across all ITV channels.

The figure is important to ITV as its advertising rates are based on audience share, as part of the Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) system set up following its creation from the merger of Carlton and Granada.

Mr Grade wants the CRR regime reviewed because of its negative impact on creativity in programming at the broadcaster.

He also announced plans in September to give ITV1 a “facelift”, including through a new peak-time strategy for the 9pm slot as the channel looks to increase its share of “light viewers” and upmarket ABC1 viewers.

ITV will also make more programmes that will recoup money for the broadcaster through international sales.

Mr Grade said yesterday: “Our focus for 2008 is on implementing the turnaround plan set out in September and maintaining the positive momentum in ITV1’s viewing performance.”

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