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Wednesday, 15 November, 2023

ITV Studios boss says production may be affected if US strike goes into autumn

ITV Studios boss says production may be affected if US strike goes into autumn

ITV Studios’ director has said if the actor and writer strikes in the US continues into the autumn it could affect production for its scripted business in America.

Julian Bellamy said ITV is in a “good position” to manage the ramifications of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike action which has recently caused an industry-wide shutdown with both actors and writers on the picket line.

During an ITV interim results press conference, chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said: “From a numbers point of view, it won’t affect 2023…in 2024 if at all it will be about saving of deliveries rather than anything else.”

Mr Bellamy said: “Just to be clear, we are talking about our US scripted business, not the rest of the UK Studio distribution. As Carolyn put, we don’t see it as having an impact on 2023 financials.

“Saying that, if the strike goes into the autumn, it will potentially start impacting when we start production.

“In that context, it is one of the great strengths of the studio, we’re very diversified in terms of genre and geography, so we are in a good position to manage it.”

When asked if ITV could charge a premium for content if there is a shortage in the US, Mr Bellamy began by saying the broadcaster hoped for a “swift resolution” after US union Sag-Aftra failed to agree new contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) a fortnight ago.

He continued: “…We have a very strong UK and national pipeline and we do have a distribution arm with a catalogue of 9,000 hours so we’re in a good position to take advantage of any opportunities that there are.”

Dame Carolyn added: “What we will be doing is talking to studios to see if we can help at all fill their schedules, we will not be charging a premium for that, we should be offering our content (and they can take) what they can from our catalogue if they require it.”

The ITV boss also spoke about the overarching advertising downturn for broadcasters, which has caused Channel 4 to reshuffle its programme schedule.

“This is the worst advertising recession since the global financial crisis,” Dame Carolyn said.

She continued: “We’re already talking to advertisers about the Christmas campaign and I think that shows there is no change in the way they view what they’re going to do over Christmas, all conversations about advertising are positive and quite constructive, they haven’t got their head in their hands.

“They’re being cautious because the outlook has been cautious.

“…We’ve had no problems sponsoring any of our shows…every single one of the shows in the autumn has got a sponsor.”

Dame Carolyn said it is impossible to have visibility over the next business quarter – “We just can’t tell you it’s okay because we don’t know that yet”.

She added: “If you talk to any media owner, they’re all going to say they can’t look that far out.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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