ITV boss Allen calls for ceasefire in ratings battle with the BBC

Consolidation continues as ITV snaps up Scottish stake in GMTV for £31m

Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, has called for a new era of "collaboration" with the BBC, its traditional rival, and has declared his support for the licence fee to continue as the basis for the BBC's funding.

In an interview with The Independent, Mr Allen said ITV and the BBC should work together more in the future to the benefit of viewers rather than vying for dominance of ratings.

His comments come as ITV yesterday continued its consolidation of channel three by snapping up a further stake in GMTV, the breakfast television company.

"Our focus is much more about competing with commercial competitors rather than competing with the BBC," Mr Allen told The Independent.

"My vision would also see us collaborating more with the BBC rather than head-to-head competition because I don't think the viewer benefits from head-to-head competition," he said. "I don't believe in ghetto-ising the BBC. I think it's about us as an industry selling our wares internationally. I think we can be world leading."

Mr Allen said there were a "great many things" the two broadcasters could do together. It already has shared studio operations in Manchester, for instance. "We are in the same sector, the same industry and it is about how you work together. We will be very supportive, for example, of the BBC continuing to have the license fee as the basis of funding," he said.

Mr Allen also raised questions about the recent management of the BBC and the role the corporation has been playing in recent years.

"It's in everybody's interests to have a strong BBC. Ironically, what has happened in the last few years under more commercial leadership is people are asking the question what role should the BBC play in the future? We should never have that question. We are very supportive of a strong BBC."

The "more commercial leadership" mentioned by Mr Allen is a reference to Greg Dyke, the former BBC director general, who has been linked to taking Mr Allen's job at ITV.

Mr Allen has been faced with constant rumours about his future following last year's dramatic ousting of Michael Green, the former head of Carlton, as ITV's first chairman.

Mr Allen said there was "no substance" to the rumours linking Mr Dyke to the ITV job, saying that although Mr Dyke was a "very good creative director" there was "not a creative deficit at ITV".

The company has also been the subject of takeover speculation, with a number of private equity bidders being mentioned.

Mr Allen's move yesterday to raise ITV's stake in GMTV to 75 per cent heralds the start of a corporate tidying-up process following the merger earlier this year of Carlton Communications and Granada.

ITV is buying SMG's 25 per cent stake in GMTV for £31m. The move consolidates its ownership of the early morning channel. ITV will be making a similar offer to the Walt Disney Company, which has the last 25 per cent of GMTV that is still outstanding.

However, a string of smaller corporate actions is expected from ITV to rationalise its assets. A further move will involve a boardroom review of the non-television assets that ITV has inherited from the Carlton-Granada merger. It is understood that the future of businesses including the Carlton cinema advertising operations and Granada Learning, the education business, will be reviewed by the ITV board. Other assets in the review will include stakes in both Arsenal and Liverpool football clubs that were bought by Granada. ITV is believed to be keen to sell the stakes.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn