Following a personal Producers’ Briefing at HOME Theatre Manchester led by Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Managing Director of Media and entertainment, and his Commissioning Team, ITV is pleased to unveil a fresh development initiative, currently undergoing a trial run in the nations and regions – Amplify: The Regions.
The primary goal of this pilot is to fortify and expedite ITV’s connections with independent production companies based in the regions. Eligible applicants are independent production firms located entirely within each of the UK’s nations, independent of any larger corporate affiliations.
Subsequently, five companies will be selected and paired with a genre Commissioner at ITV. They will be provided with a brief and will participate in a pitch. As part of the initiative, each selected company will be granted £5,000 to nurture potential ideas. If these ideas get the green light, the subsequent step will be to navigate through ITV’s standard commissioning process. Should the ideas not align with ITV’s requirements, the production companies are free to pitch their concepts elsewhere.
Applications can be submitted at itv.com/commissioning, with a deadline set for Friday, November 10.
This novel venture draws inspiration from ITV’s Diversity Commissioning Fund’s Amplify: The Companies, a trial aimed at fostering relationships with diverse-owned independent companies. The names of the selected companies will be revealed in November.
Kevin Lygo, Managing Director, Media & Entertainment ITV said; “For both linear and ITVX, ideas can and absolutely do often come from the nations and regions. ITV wants ideas from the regions, about the regions and produced by the regions in the regions. This is why we’re excited today to be launching a brand new development initiative specifically for regional indies – Amplify The Regions.”
The Producers Briefing in Manchester was also attended by Polly Hill, Head of Drama; Nana Hughes, Head of Scripted Comedy; Sue Murphy, Head of Factual Entertainment; Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment; and Paul Mortimer, Director of Reality Commissioning & Acquisitions and Controller ITV2 & ITVBe, along with their teams. The Commissioning Heads echoed Kevin’s sentiments about their commissioning criteria and emphasized that procuring top-tier content remains pivotal to ITV’s strategy.
As the largest commercial PSB, ITV is committed to delivering the finest and most captivating ideas for a broad audience. For ITVX, the aim is to attract elusive, harder-to-reach audiences to premieres and then engage them to explore other content on the platform. This strategy has proven successful.
From January to August of this year, ITV’s overall performance has remained stable, surpassing the total broadcaster market (-1.9%). The launch of ITVX has been particularly robust, with a substantial surge in digital viewership. In August, ITVX achieved a record-breaking 2 billion streams, with a 93% increase in lighter audience engagement.
During their visit to Manchester, Kevin and the team stressed ITV’s openness to indies of all sizes and shapes. They welcome outstanding ideas from any source, and should smaller companies approach them with ambitious concepts, they have seasoned commissioners ready to assist in refining and assembling the right team to bring these ideas to fruition.
Why are the regions important to ITV? Regional commissions offer a chance to inclusively represent the society we all inhabit. They bring diversity of talent, both in front of and behind the camera, a variety of ideas, and a range of voices, perspectives, and experiences.
Regions have always played a vital role at ITV, especially in Manchester with the enduring legacy of Granada and over 450 staff producing the UK’s preeminent soap, Coronation Street. It’s worth noting that ITV broadcasts news in 18 regions, a feat unmatched by any other commercial broadcaster.
ITV allocates more funds for program creation (including regional news) outside of London than Channel 4 and Channel 5 combined. In 2022, 44% of ITV1’s airtime and 54% of its expenditure were attributed to productions outside of London (quotas stipulate 35% for both airtime and expenditure).
Recent regional commissions for ITV Drama encompass Sir Lenny Henry’s Three Little Birds, produced in Birmingham, and the forthcoming Martin Clunes thriller, Out There, currently in production in Wales in partnership with Creative Wales. In the realm of Factual programming, there’s the Social Media Murders from CrackIt North, and in Entertainment, Big Zuu’s 12 Dishes in 12 Hours, a collaboration between Two Four in Plymouth and Big Productions.
Furthermore, a new regional commission for factual programming was announced yesterday. Tik Tok: Murders Gone Viral is being produced by Nine Lives, hailing from Greater Manchester and Birmingham. This true-crime series delves into three tragic murders that garnered viral attention on TikTok, including the recent shocking British case where influencer MayBVlogs was convicted, alongside her mother, of a double murder.