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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
ITV aims to be top UK entertainer
Contestants from "I'm a Celebrity... get me out of here"
ITV wants more cash from shows it produces in-house
ITV boss Michael Grade has unveiled plans aimed at making the broadcaster the UK's "favourite source of free entertainment" by 2012.

It plans to double the amount it makes from its content to 1.2bn, but any extra spending will have to come from saving money throughout the business.

It also plans to sell assets such as its investments in the websites of Arsenal and Liverpool football clubs.

And it hopes to be allowed to close eight of its regional newsrooms.

The broadcaster aims to save between 35m and 40m a year by reducing the number of regional newsrooms from 17 to nine, although it will have to get permission from the regulator, Ofcom.

In a letter to staff, Mr Grade warned that the current set-up is not sustainable.

ITV shares fell in London - at midday they were down 1.86% or 2.1 pence at 110.6p.

Call-in competitions

ITV said that trading is in line with expectations and that advertising revenues are continuing to improve.

Michael Grade
I want ITV to be widely acknowledged as the UK's favourite source of free, original entertainment
Michael Grade, executive chairman, ITV

Net advertising revenue for ITV1 grew 2% in the last three months boosted a new series of the X-Factor talent show.

The broadcaster is aiming to have a 38.5% share of the commercial television audience by 2012.

It also wants more of its original content to be made by its in-house production company ITV Productions.

The unit currently wins 54% of ITV's commissioning budget - it has been told to get as close as possible to the 75% maximum it is allowed.

Online revenue

ITV.com has been given a target of delivering 150m in revenue by 2010.

Mr Grade said that he wanted to make more money from using ITV's content online.

"Thirty million hits on YouTube for Paul Potts winning Britain's Got Talent. We will be able to monetise that in future," he said.

Meanwhile, scandal-hit ITV Play's remaining call-in competition programmes, that are broadcast late at night on ITV1 and ITV2, are to be scrapped.

"Negative publicity following compliance problems across the sector has seen call volumes drop to uneconomic levels," ITV said.

The ITV Play channel itself was taken off air in March after some of its competitions came under fire for being almost impossible to answer.

Turn around

"By 2012, I want ITV to be widely acknowledged as the UK's favourite source of free, original entertainment across all popular platforms and devices, not just on television," Mr Grade said.

ITV saw its audience share fall last year and is relying on Mr Grade to turn things around after moving from the BBC nine months ago.

It has been struggling partly because of the contract rights renewal scheme (CRR) which makes it more difficult for ITV to make money from advertising.

The CRR scheme - agreed by Mr Grade's predecessor Charles Allen as part of the deal that allowed the merger Carlton and Granada three years ago - directly links ITV1's advertising revenues to its audience share.

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