ITV has reported strong financial results despite a decrease in audience share. In its interim results the broadcaster stated increased external revenue, up 11 per cent to £1.36 billion, and profit growth up 24 per cent to £400 million. Its online, pay and interactive performed strongly, with revenue up 27 per cent to £85 million, and following a slew of acquisitions its ITV Studios arm has grown significantly, with revenues up 23 per cent to £496 million.
“ITV made further strong progress in the first half of the year as we continued to grow and rebalance the company creatively and commercially,” said Adam Crozier, ITV chief executive.
Crozier had a positive outlook on 2016, with a strong schedule of programming including Beowulf, Britain’s Got Talent and Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad, contributing to the broadcaster’s continuing success, as well it having secured the joint rights to Six Nations Rugby.
ITV Family share of viewing was down four per cent, and Crozier admitted that “Improving SOV [share of viewing] remains a key focus for the year.” ITV hopes to see improvements with upcoming “quality drama” programmes like Jekyll & Hyde, Unforgotten and The Trials of Jimmy Rose.
The decline in the main channel was partly offset by a 2 per cent improvement across ITV’s digital family of channels. The viewing performance was impacted by strong competition from the BBC, no major sporting event and some of the broadcaster’s shows not performing as well as expected, it admitted.
Broadcast and online delivered a strong first half performance, with total revenue up six per cent and total adjusted EBITA up 26 per cent to £315 million. This reflects five per cent growth in net advertising revenue as well as growth in high margin online, pay and interactive revenue, which was up 27 per cent. This was boosted by the growth in online advertising and new subscription channel ITV Encore, dedicated to British drama.
Video on-demand remains an ever-popular way for audiences to consume content: ITV reported a 29 per cent increase in long-form video requests and said it has made ‘further improvements in the quality and reach of ITV Player’.
“More than half of ITV Studios revenue now comes from outside the UK and we further reinforced our position as a leading international producer with the acquisition of Talpa Media,” continued Crozier. ITV has also strengthened its UK studios business with the acquisitions of Mammoth Screen and Twofour Group. Strong drama programming such as Poldark and Schitt’s Creek, US drama Aquarius and the sale of Thunderbirds are Go (pictured) to 35 countries, has benefitted ITV’s distribution business: Global Entertainment increased revenue by 18 per cent to £71 million.
ITV expects to deliver ‘another strong performance’ in the second half of 2015, including an optimistic outlook for ITV Family. ITV Family NAR is expected to be up six per cent in the nine months to the end of September, around eight per cent in the third quarter, and the broadcaster expects to outperform the market again over the full year. It will ‘remain focused on improving’ it share of viewing over the same period.