Crozier gets his timing right

For once Adam Crozier seems to have got his timing right. The Saatchis smoothie who presided over controversial regimes at the Football Association and the Royal Mail, attracting volcanic ash clouds of criticism as he did so, is taking over as chief executive at ITV just as the broadcaster emerges from the depths of its own private recession.

For a few horrendous years during which audiences and advertising plummeted in the face of new digital channels, the impact of the internet and of course the global recession, ITV seemed to be on a downward spiral from which it would never recover.

Its one attempt to enter the new media landscape, the purchase of Friends United, ended in a massive loss and general derision in the media community.

Yet forecasters are expecting large increases in the broadcaster’s ad revenues, maybe as much as 29 per cent according to one media firm, and the share price is up to 68p after falling as low as 18p at one stage.

With the IPA Bellweather report proclaiming marketing spend up for the first time in nearly three years and companies saying they’ll spend more this year, ITV can’t help but benefit.

Yet while Crozier and his chairman Archie Norman will be able to enjoy a mini boom for a few years, whether they will be able to fix the structural problems is another matter.

Essentially ITV, like all mass media dependent on advertising, needs to expand its role and services to find additional revenue streams that match the constantly changing media consumption of their audiences, who are being bombarded by exciting new media options every few months.

In the end, how successfully ITV manages this transition will be the measure of Norman and Crozier’s stewardship of the network.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.