ITV Makes A New Online Strategy Team Under BBC Exec

ITV (LSE: ITV) is set to crank its paid online strategy up a gear. It’s hired former BBC Online exec James Micklethwait to head a new team responsible for ITV’s online and on-demand products, both free and paid.

The broadcaster is looking for ways to augment its ad-supported offerings with paid-for media content.

Micklethwait is joining in the new role of product strategy and customer engagement director. At the BBC, he had previously been programme director for Open iPlayer (the BBC’s failed offer to share iPlayer technology with other public broadcasters) and strategy head for the future media and technology team. Most recently, he was controller of journalism and the BBC’s north strategy.

Micklethwait is being hired by Robin Pembrooke, the former Global Rado digital director who recently took the same role at

Former ITV executive chairman Michael Grade once called sites like YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) a “parasite” for hosting ITV IP.

After a stuttering start, ITV has recently been finding bigger audiences for its ITV Player by essentially mimicking the BBC’s iPlayer – an own-brand, self-hosted VOD service on which to sell video ads. It remains reluctant to syndicate its video out to other services, but appears happy to share ITV Player itself, which is now hosting on Playstation 3.

We will be most interested in whether the syndication outlook will change and what Micklethwait can do in the realm of paid video services.

C21 adds: “Also newly onboard at ITV are Gulliver Smithers, director of’s on-demand player; Andrew Levy, director of web solution delivery; and Richard Harding, director of technology.”