ITV wants to increase investment in development so it can be quicker in greenlighting ideas once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted and filming can get back underway on TV shows. Non-scripted formats are a particular area of focus, it said.
As well as the funding pot, which is designed to generate ideas for later this year and 2021, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo pledged to increase online meetings between commissioners and producers.
He said: “ITV’s success is based on the ideas that are brought to us by indies from across the UK and we don’t want that to stop. We have this money specifically available to ramp up development over the next few months so we can hit the ground running when current restrictions are lifted.
“The commissioning teams are willing to increase the number of virtual meetings they have in order to build up an exciting slate over the next few months – so if you have an idea for us, especially in the unscripted space, we are in a position to help fund that immediately.”
ITV announced the development just an hour after the BBC set out a five-point plan to help producers during the pandemic. The plan includes pledges to increase development spending, as well as a commitment to push more funding into acquisitions.
ITV is particularly exposed to the COVID-19 crisis given that half of its revenue comes from TV advertising. It has scrapped previously issued financial forecasts for 2020 and said it plans to slash its program budget by £100M ($123M) this year. A good chunk of this will be because it will no longer broadcast Euro 2020.