Wednesday 4 March 2009

ITV admits ‘We’ve made a huge mistake’


Television giant ITV today admitted for the first time that it had fucked up quite spectacularly in it’s acquisition of Friends Reunited.

After just 3 years, ITV has admitted it’s enormous gaffe and has put Friends Reunited up for sale at a fraction of the price they paid for it.

“Honestly, this is just like the time we bought all that Betamax stock.” Said one ITV insider.

After paying £175m for the Friends Reunited business in 2005, ITV completely overhauled the entire business by placing an ITV logo on the homepage and flooding the website with adverts.

Doomed I tells ya

Unfortunately, the business was doomed when it’s charging model was made redundant by the advent of Internet successes Myspace and Facebook.

Even a concerted program of incessant emailing of anyone who had ever registered on the site ‘back in the day’ failed to bring them back.

“I think a lot of people just started treating our requests to come back as spam.” said Business Development Manager Shaun Devlin.

Spin-off businesses using the Reunited brand such as Genes Reunited, People You Once Met on Holiday Reunited and the ill-fated Cell Mates Reunited all failed to take off.

“Sure, we could have just copied the fundamental idea of Friends Reunited, improved it, and launched it as a free service to create a billion dollar business inside two years.  But why bother doing it the hard way?”

“It was much easier just to pay £175m for it and then slap our gaudy adverts all over it.”

The future

“I think essentially,  we over estimated the amount people are willing to pay to see pictures of people they haven’t seen in ages and who are no way near as hot as they remember.”

It is not all bad news however, as TV critics have been quick to point out.

“The Friends Reunited losses have meant that The Bill is now being shown just once a week, and Heartbeat has been completely cancelled.  Which is nice.” said the Daily Mail’s TV critic, Ian Schlepp.

ITV are betting their short-term revival on the recent £200m acquisition of Internet start-up TextToScreen, which allows users send 140 character SMS-style messages from one PC to as many others as you like, over the Internet, all for just 12 pence a message.

“This one is a stone cold banker.” said ITV Chief Executive Michael Grade.

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