MAY 3, 2002
The rout in television continues...
JUST a couple of days after ABC in the United States kicked out its chief executive, Britain's ITV has followed suit with Stuart Prebble resigning from his position as chief executive. Prebble's crime was to come up with the idea of signing a big deal with the English Football League, a move which caused the demise of ITV Digital.
The pay-per-view channel has now been switched off everything except free programming. The resulting shock waves are hitting the soccer business badly with some clubs struggling to survive the loss of the ITV income. Several have released players from contracts in an effort to cut costs and one or two may even go out of business.
The demise of ITV Digital marks another nail in the coffin of pay-per-view television, at least in the short term, as people have shown themselves reluctant to pay for sport on television. Sports which are uniquely pay-per-view have suffered considerably in terms of viewing figures (and thus advertising revenues) while Formula 1's attempt to have both pay-per-view and free-to-air coverage has antagonized traditional broadcasters by lowering the quality of their programming, while pay-per-view has not made any money.
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