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ITV cuts program budget, scraps Global target

British commercial broadcaster ITV is to cut its program budget by £65 million (US$91.7 million) this year and scrap its global content targets after it announced a 41% fall in pre-tax profits.

The broadcaster blamed “the most challenging advertising market in 30 years”, which saw advertising revenues fall by 20% in the first quarter of the year.

ITV will cut another 600 jobs and is looking to deliver £345 million of savings this year and £175 million next year.

Although revenue from the company’s Global Content arm increased by 10% to £622 million – one bright point in otherwise disappointing results – it has scrapped its target of £1 billion revenue by 2012.

“Despite the challenging market, we will continue to seek growth in our global content and core online revenues. However, the revenue targets previously set for 2012, which assumed modest, but positive growth in UK television advertising, are no longer appropriate,” ITV noted.

ITV Global Content has been acquiring stakes in UK and international independent producers including formats house 12 Yard, US digital producer Electric Farm and Lost in Austen-producer Mammoth Screen.