ITV is cutting £100 million ($116 million) from its programming budget and suspending the production of Coronation Street and Emmerdale due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are operating in unprecedented and uncertain times, requiring us to take difficult decisions, plan carefully and act with speed,” said Carolyn McCall, chief executive. “Our absolute priority is to protect our people while trying to ensure that we deliver the news and programs our viewers value and love to watch and to keep them informed. We are actively taking measures to reduce costs and manage our cash flow so that we are best positioned to continue to deliver our strategy of building a digitally-led media and entertainment company over the medium term.”
The British media group says that restrictions worldwide are impacting ITV Studios’ ability to film productions. “We have had to pause a significant number of productions in the U.K. and internationally, which we are doing in a systematic manner to ensure that we are well placed to resume production as soon as we are able to and to minimize the costs of disruption,” ITV said in a statement.
Coronation Street and Emmerdale have suspended production as of today.
“We are implementing contingency plans to enable us to continue to produce as many programs as possible, particularly our news output and live productions. It is too early to quantify the impact of this on ITV Studios’ revenue and profit. This depends on how long the restrictions are in place.”
ITV Studios is expecting to benefit from increased demand for library sales as broadcasters look for ways to fill their grids during a production shutdown.
The £100 million reduction in programming spend includes savings from sport, such as the EURO 2020 postponement, the late delivery of commissioned programming and active decisions to reduce expenditure. ITV will also reduce discretionary spending by an additional £20 million in 2020.