Carolyn McCall

ITV's CEO Carolyn McCall on the channel's digital transition

For ITV, the pandemic forced the company to do some hard thinking. Advertising revenue fell off a cliff in the second quarter of 2020, programme ­budgets were slashed, and senior executives took voluntary pay cuts.

“Commercially, we were very worried about our cash situation in the first three or four months of the pandemic,” CEO Carolyn McCall told her interviewer, BBC News’s Dharshini David. “We took some dramatically difficult decisions in the first three weeks of the pandemic because we had to preserve our cash.”

ITV's Carolyn McCall: Flying the flag for PSB

Carolyn McCall offered a robust defence of public service broadcasting during the course of a revealing and wide-ranging interview at the RTS Digital Convention 2020. ITV’s CEO – who was probed by ITV News London and Loose Women presenter Charlene White – also discussed the Black Lives Matter movement, BritBox, ITV’s digital strategy and its response to the corona­virus epidemic.

McCall said that the first Covid-19 lockdown had “brought home to a lot of people” the importance of having “a trusted [TV] source, [with no] disinformation”.

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall: “If you don’t have prominence your content will not be found in this new digital world"

The Chief Executive of ITV said that the coronavirus epidemic had “brought home to a lot of people” the importance of having “a trusted [TV] source, [with no] disinformation”. 

But she warned: “A lot of the stuff that goes on air would not be made if it wasn’t for the fact that there are public service broadcasters.”

McCall called for public service broadcasting, which is currently being reviewed by both media regulator Ofcom and the DCMS committee, to be treated fairly.

ITV's Carolyn McCall: The importance of PSB news has never been greater for our democracy

Carolyn McCall chairing the RTS Cambridge Convention 2019 (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Shifting viewing habits, developments in technology and the rapidly evolving competitive landscape are having a fundamental impact on our industry,” argued RTS Convention Chair Carolyn McCall as she opened Cambridge 2019.

But amid the change and uncertainty, which included Britain’s future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, McCall maintained that television had a bright future.

Live blog: Content, Consumers and Everything In Between

McCall is joined by Susanna Reid, Neil Mortensen, Kevin Lygo and the consumer panel in Leeds with Ranvir Singh, as they discuss a wide ranging look at the challenges and opportunities for the television industry in a fast-changing world.

Chairs

Susanna ReidJournalist and Broadcaster 

Ranvir Singh, Journalist and Broadcaster

Speakers

Carolyn McCall: We want Cambridge to bring in the voice of the consumer

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall (Credit: ITV)

It may be Carolyn McCall’s first RTS Cambridge but she knows what she wants from the convention’s speakers. They should be positive and provocative. She also wants to hear from the voices of the people who consume the content.

“There is no point going into the Cambridge Convention with an attitude of ‘It’s all doom and gloom’. Yes, there are challenges but the opportunities for content creators have never been greater,” she emphasises.