ITV plc (ITV) is a FTSE100 media company based in the UK,that operates as a broadcaster and producer of television programming. ITV plc’s external revenues in 2011 were £2,140m, with EBITA before exceptionals of £462m (2010: £2,064m with EBITA £408m).
ITV is the largest commercial television network in the UK and operates a family of four channels delivering content across multiple platforms including via itv.com and ITV Player. ITV Studios produces and sells programmes and formats in the UK and worldwide.
The applicant for dot.ITV, ITV Services Limited, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITV that provides services for ITV and other companies within the ITV Group.
ITV has three main business areas:
1. ITV Broadcasting
The ITV channel was set up in 1958 as a public service commercial television service in competition with the BBC. There is an exceptionally strong reputation in the brand ʺITVʺ for television services in the UK dating back some decades.
In its capacity as a broadcaster ITV operates the largest commercial television network in the UK. It controls 45.3% of the UK television advertising market – the greatest share of any UK commercial network. In 2011 the ITV family of four channels delivered 23.1% share of the total viewing audience as a proportion of total television viewing in the UK.
2. ITV Online
ITV delivers its programmes across multiple online platforms including itv.com (its website), ITV Player (its video on demand service), video on demand on cable television and other ‘closed’ platforms, mobile devices and games consoles. In 2011 the total number of long form video views – a measure of the number of ITV programmes viewed across non-television channels such as itv.com , games consoles, smartphones and tablets – was 376m. This was an increase of 44% on 2010 figures, showing the rising popularity of these mediums.
The total broadcast and online revenue in 2011 was £1,882m (2010: £1,771m). ITV content, including that distributed online, is funded by advertising and sponsorship revenues as well as viewer competitions and voting.
3. ITV Studios
ITV Studios is ITV’s production arm. It produces and sells programmes and formats in the UK and worldwide and has a growing portfolio of international production offices in the US, Germany, Australia, Sweden and France. In addition it operates an international distribution, home entertainment, publishing, merchandising and licensing business that distributes programmes and formats to broadcasters in 240 territories worldwide. ITV’s production revenue in 2011 was £612m (2010: £554m).
In 2010 ITV announced that it was embarking on a five-year transformation plan focussed on improving its core television broadcast and international content businesses, whilst growing revenue from multi-platform distribution through online and pay television - recognised as engines for growth both in the UK and internationally. ITV recognises that it operates in a highly evolving and competitive digital market in which advances in technology are changing the way people consume media. It is focussed on responding to the challenges of new technology, changing patterns of user behaviour and new market entrants, by ensuring it is in a position to take advantage of opportunities the digital environment offers. As a result ITV has invested heavily in technology-based projects across the business, notably in its online infrastructure in order to drive online viewing and revenues.
Of particular note -
• Online revenues rose 21% in 2011 at £34m and ITV remains committed to future investment to further build on this.
• The ITV Player is now available on more platforms including PS3, Android, iOS and Freesat which in 2011 drove 44% growth in long form video views across all platforms to 376 million (2010: 261 million). A key performance indicator as ITV seeks to monetise online traffic.
• ITV continually looks at ways it can develop closer engagement with its viewer in order to provide greater value to its advertisers. This is being achieved via 15.4 million Facebook fans across all of its pages (2010: 7.4 million) which is another indication of the power of the ITV brand.
• Mobile viewing has risen dramatically in 2011, and represented 9% of all video on demand viewing of ITV content in December 2011. This enables ITV to engage ever more closely with consumers. Following its launch in 2011, the ITV Player app had more than 3 million downloads.
This all evidences ITV’s commitment to investment in its online presence as a key feature of the transformation plan and ITV’s strategy for the future. The successful acquisition of the gTLD, .ITV, is seen as an important element of this process.
The .ITV registry will be a standard not community-based registry. The current intention for use of the gTLD is:
• To protect ITV’s intellectual property by securing the character string ITV in the new gTLD system
• To provide a platform for the delivery of secure digital material
• To support ITV’s ambitions to keep pace with internet technology developments in line with strategy and other leading media companies: investment in a new gTLD is investment in the internet real estate of the future
ITV has invested heavily in its brand and has registered trademarks in the UK and internationally as represented in the table below.
ITV has c. 100 current trademark registrations in a portfolio that was started in the mid-1990s and extends around the world. These registrations, which include national and international registrations exactly match or contain the character string ITV.
As a brand ITV is both recognised and trusted in the UK and it is expected that the gTLD will enable ITV to further protect popular programme brands, driving the viewers association of the programme with ITV as a channel and a production company.
One of ITV’s key strategies is build a strong international content business. For businesses and consumers outside of the UK (except for ex-pat consumers), the ʺITVʺ brand is relatively new and not well known. Part of our strategy to drive recognition. The strength of the ITV brand in terms of differentiating itself from other brands (and the ability for ITV to secure an effective monopoly over ʺITVʺ) is dependent upon how well known the ITV brand is by consumers.
The ITV registry will be judged a success if the character string is secured and protected. Enhancing ITV’s brand equity worldwide, security and innovation in terms of communications will also constitute key success factors for us. ITV is excited to be involved in the process.