ITN unvieled its new look this week — a long-overdue remodelling of the familiar logo, now appearing in five different colours. New end credits now appear on our programmes for ITV and Channel 4. The new livery adorns our newsrooms, our websites and our news trucks. The change was explained to staff in a glitzy presentation fronted by Jon Snow and Mark Austin, who then gave ITN managers a suitably rigorous grilling on the substance behind the change.
So is it really more than a cosmetic revamp? Absolutely. One reason for the change was to differentiate our business units, which each have their own colour, but a bigger reason was the need to project a new and fresh image of what is now a fast-moving multimedia business.
ITN's core activity is still TV news — the award-winning programmes we produce for ITV and Channel 4. But we have been successfully building some pretty exciting new-media businesses around that central core. ITN today is not just a rapidly growing UK media company, but is seen by many outside the UK as a pioneer in establishing successful new-media business models.
The most important is the newly renamed ITN Source, our archive business, which is now the world's biggest aggregator of moving imagery, achieving growth rates of more than 30 per cent a year. As well as managing clip sales from ITN's own 50-year back catalogue, we manage video sales for Granada, Channel 4, Reuters, British Pathé, Fox News and Fox Movietone. ITN is investing heavily in this business, creating Europe's largest digital video storage facility, which goes live this month, and gearing up to switch on an e-commerce capability in September.
ITN formed a landmark partnership with Google in January which already enables us to sell video clips straight to US consumers. In this imagery market it is no longer the BBC and Sky News which we see as the big players around us, but Getty, Corbis and other aggregators of still imagery who, like ITN, see the use of stills and video merging — above all in corporate, advertising and consumer markets. If your children use photos from the web to enliven their school homework, it is a fair bet that in two to three years they may be downloading ITN video clips.
ITN has also become a UK leader in producing video content for mobile phones. We deliver streamed channels and video-on-demand to Vodafone, 3, O2 and Orange, and have already moved beyond straight news to deliver showbiz, weather and archive-based clips such as potted video histories for every day of the year. We also have two programme-making businesses, ITN Factual and Visual Voodoo, which have become established as strong brands in their own right.
New slogan As well as changing colours we introduced a new slogan: "Right Content, Right Now", which captures the nature of the challenge facing all media organisations.
Today's lightning advances in technology mean that the media market is fragmenting, providing more opportunity and choice than ever before. People want all kinds of information — whether a news bulletin, a showbiz update or a weather forecast — available immediately on the device they prefer. That may be broadband, mobile phones, podcasting, digital radio — the list just gets longer.
TV news accounted for nearly 90 per cent of ITN's turnover five years ago; today our other businesses already account for 30 per cent of revenues. That proportion is growing apace.
The build-up of multimedia production skills has also enabled ITN to collaborate effectively with our core customers, ITV and Channel 4, to develop new ways of delivering content to new platforms. We deliver Channel 4 News to mobile phones, have Jon Snow presenting podcasts and are working with ITV on whole new ways to get our news to an enormous interactive consumer audience.
ITN has a glorious heritage, built over the last 50 years on first-class television journalism and innovation. Its news programming continues to be world-class.
New opportunities The new ITN is also staking out its place as a worldwide leader in the creation and delivery of unique, relevant and ground-breaking content. Our investments are focused on harnessing new technology and enhancing customer service with the fast delivery of the content our users want, at the time they want it.
The glitzy presentation had a serious purpose. We want all our staff to be excited by the new challenges and motivated to work together to help build ITN as a dynamic and successful commercial company. We already have the full backing of our shareholders for this growth path — they have enabled us to build a new digital infrastructure and this week we announced further investment, including production of highdefinition content for ITN Source.
A fun place to work We also announced to staff this week that thanks to co-investment from ITV and Channel 4 we will be installing state-of-the-art Avid production systems and completely revamping our newsrooms.
ITN is not only going to be a fun place to work — we are going to make sure it is also one of the most pleasant.
So it is not just a coat of paint on an old image. The new look, developed by young and very groovy design firm Dave, is built around a whole change of culture and a very real change of business.
The new ITN is going to grab headlines for some time to come — and for more than just its change of image.
Just watch us — we have everything in place to become one of the trendsetters in the emerging new-media world.