Simon Shaps On Broadcasting: Take your partners: how new media can help the old survive

The week ended in Gray's Inn Road, in an office without any views, on a street - as far I can tell - possibly unique in London for its lack of a Starbucks. That essential staging-post in my walk from Embankment Tube to the office - there's one at Embankment itself, one by County Hall and one in the Hayward Gallery - is absent from Gray's Inn Road. Worse still, the redevelopment of the South Bank Centre, anticipated for years, has finally added bookshops, restaurants and cafés galore to what was once something of a wasteland.

The reason for the change is that, during that week, I crossed TV's Rubicon. As the great Brandon Tartikoff, who ran NBC in the 1980s, once remarked, there are only two types of people in television: beggars and choosers. At the end of the week, I found myself in the heady world of the "choosers", the people who ultimately decide what appears on television. It was as if I had walked into a TV show about swapping pitching and producing for commissioning and scheduling, across four channels.

What do I make of this new life? Others have made the same transition and prospered. (Let's not talk about the failures.) The example I am clinging to is the case of the production head of Disney-owned Touchstone, who took over at the ABC network last year. Sitting in his in-tray when he arrived were Desperate Housewives and Lost, as well as Wife Swap.

ONE OF the unexpected pleasures of the past few weeks was producing Yahoo! chief executive Terry Semel's session at the RTS Cambridge Convention.

Like the new kid's arrival at school with the flashiest trainers, part of the ritual of this kind of event is the so-called "new media" companies spooking the "old media" companies into believing that their business models are dead or dying and that they ought to give up now and join them.

But Semel, a rare visitor to the UK, is clearly a more substantial new-media figure than is usually seen at these events. The 15th-most powerful man in the world (according to Vanity Fair's recent "New Establishment" list) arrived with a retinue of spin doctors and minders that would have made Alastair Campbell proud.

With a salary package said to exceed the programme budget of Five, a quarter-century's experience at Warner Bros and four years as chairman and chief executive of Yahoo!, he is the kind of guy you need to take really seriously. His message was to invite British producers to provide programmes that Yahoo! could promote and distribute on its network, which has close to 200 million "active users". In a sign of things to come, Yahoo! recently premiered Supernatural a week before the show appeared on US TV. Semel argued that companies such as ITV, and others, should be doing the same.

So will this invitation herald a new era of partnership? I think so. The truth is that we will all need to make alliances, sometimes with unlikely bedfellows, if we are to succeed in future.

A good recent example is Freesat, from ITV and the BBC. It makes commercial sense for ITV to be moving into this area, and it is entirely consistent with the BBC's broader objectives as we approach analogue switch-off. Online, it's the same principle. With companies like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft becoming ever stronger, and wider-reaching communications and distribution businesses, we have got to build bridges. They have the technology, we've got channels and programmes.

Don't get me wrong - my job is about commissioning and scheduling across ITV channels, and of course television is our primary focus. I want to make ITV the natural home of Britain's best programme-makers and talent. But as our viewers increasingly text, surf and download as well as watch TV, I want them to be viewing ITV content and ITV programmes wherever they are. This is why the recently launched ITV mobile portal will feature some of the network's biggest brands: The X Factor, I'm a Celebrity... and Coronation Street.

The truth is that there's not a major broadcaster in the world, let alone the UK, not already making inroads into mobile, online and broadband technology. But, however good the technology, it's how you use it that matters. It's the quality of the partnerships that will separate the best from the rest.

Simon Shaps was made director of television at ITV this week. He was previously the chief executive of Granada

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Brand Marketing Manager - Essex - £45,000 + £5000 car allowance

£40000 - £45000 per annum + car allowance: Ashdown Group: Senior Brand Manager...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer /.NET Software Developer

£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer /.NET Software ...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

Guru Careers: Technical Operations Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Technical Ope...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?