ITV's new bosses, Archie Norman and Adam Crozier, are preparing massive job cuts as part of their five-year masterplan to revitalise the X-Factor TV giant.
The new team, hired this year to rescue the ailing broadcaster, is understood to be looking at a significant cut to the number of workers at its South Bank offices. Sources close to the company say up to half of the 1,400 staff could go over the next few years while further cutbacks are expected among the 2,600 workers around the UK and Europe.
ITV has already suffered recent job losses, with more than 1,200 staff leaving last year under the previous chairman, Michael Grade.
A source added that the job cuts were part of the board's strategic transformation plan to make savings, but were also to bring in new and fresh talent. "There comes a point when you need to change the culture internally, to change the view inside and sometimes that can only be done by bringing in new faces" he said.
But ITV is also moving fast to invest heavily in new content, concentrating on its expertise in soaps such as Coronation Street, dramas and popular entertainment like X-Factor and Dancing on Ice as well as news. Under the new online managing director, Fru Hazlitt, work is now under way to build up its interactive online presence to compete with Sky and the BBC.
Media analyst Lorna Tilbian of Numis said: "We expect big job cuts from Archie Norman – it's very much his style – and it's what he did at Asda where he was so successful. The only way forward for ITV is to cut costs, build up content and hope that eventually the Government will trim back the licence fee going to the BBC, because it is squeezing out all other commercial operators."
Mr Norman and Mr Crozier are also considering a move out of ITV's South Bank tower and its Grays Inn Road building as part of its longer-term strategic review. "The tower is spread over 21 floors which makes communication in such a people business difficult. Longer-term we will be looking to move to somewhere more practical," said a source.
ITV's shares have risen to 58p on the back of the new team's rescue plan, but Norman has warned investors that it will be a hard five-year slog to turn around the broadcaster, which still has around £500m of debt.Reuse content