ITV Chef Carolyn McCall expressed her disappointment at losing the broadcast of Emma Raducanu’s historic US Open triumph, revealing that her company had been overtaken by rival Channel 4 to show the rights to the Amazon Prime video program on free-to-air.
McCall, who is an honest tennis fan, admitted that ITV was in the mix (the BBC was also a candidate) but, as a commercially run PSB (Public Service Broadcaster), the broadcaster had to make the numbers. “We have to go back. We really wanted it, [but] we have to make money, that’s our model, “she commented during a panel discussion this week Royal Television Society Convention in London.
On the subject of Channel 4, the executive refused to draw on whether ITV is in the mix to get the channel if the government decides to privatize with the privatization of the state broadcaster.
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She said, however, that it was “incredibly important that the mission of Channel 4 remains the terrain of Channel 4” and that it continues to function throughout the PSB landscape. “This is a matter for the government, they could change. This question comes up every 10 years anyway,” she added.
Asked if ITV wants to remain PSB, McCall said the company wanted to remain a “commercial PSB” but its status would be dictated by the modernization of the 2003 Broadcasting Act (created by Ofcom). “Ofcom gets it [updates that should be made to the act], it is up to the government to legislate now, “she added.
Whether the government actually implements that change is another matter. “DCMS are good at listening, I have no evidence yet to see the show,” McCall said. “It’s all for the moment to play. They have so much information from all of us.”
“They appreciate PSBs,” the executive confirmed.
One of the main topics of discussion at the RTS convention this year was the future of broadcasters Andrew Neil and Piers Morgan, who are both free agents after the former recently left GB News.
“Andrew and Piers will do really well wherever they go,” said McCall, noting that Morgan “strongly defended” the company overcoming its controversial comments about Meghan Markle’s mental health, which ultimately led to him ITV have resigned. “We insist on freedom of speech and freedom of opinion,” she commented.
McCall would not say whether either man could appear on ITV soon, but said they did not expect them to be out of the game for long. “I think you will soon be getting Andrew and Piers on a global platform every day,” she said.