ITV profits soar, no C5 bid
ITV has reported pre-tax profits up 30 per cent to £435 million (€512m) for 2013, aided by a 20 per cent rise in profits at ITV Studios. Revenues were up 8 per cent to £2.7 billion in the 12 months to December 31st 2013. Broadcast and online revenues were up 3 per cent to £1.9 billion while revenues at ITV Studios were up 20 per cent to £857 million.
Chief Executive Adam Crozier said that ITV expected to outperform the TV advertising market in 2014. Net advertising sales are expected to lift between 5 per cent and 6 per cent year on year in the four months to April, beating the 2 per cent they grew by in 2013. He added: “Our robust on-screen performance in 2013, the strong schedule for 2014 including the Fifa World Cup, and the advertising deals we have done to date, put us in a good position to achieve this.”
Last month, ITV announced it was to launch ITV Encore, a pay-TV channel on Sky showcasing the “best of British drama” as it continues its plan to diversify revenues.. Crozier said: “We remain committed to our strategy for rebalancing the business, with growth increasingly coming from online, pay and interactive and from ITV Studios internationally.”
ITV cut costs of £28 million last year and said it was on track to make further cut costs of £10 million this year.
Revenue growth at ITV Studios was powered by international productions and acquistiions. During 2013, ITV acquired The Garden and Big Talk, in an effort to up its factual entertainment and comedy formats. In the US, a key market for growth, ITV bought Thinkfactory Media and High Noon Entertainment.
Revenues across online, pay and interactive, which includes the ITV Player, were up 16 per cent, while long-form video requests were up 16 per cent over the year.
Last year, BT beat ITV and BSkyB to acquire Champions League rights from 2015 in an exclusive £897 million three-year deal. Crozier said ITV, which is broadcasting this year’s World Cup from Brazil, would be “always interested” in future sports rights. He added: “ITV has taken another significant step forward with 9 per cent revenue growth and for the fourth year in a row we delivered double-digit profit growth. All parts of the business are progressing well ad we continue to rebalance ITV.”
“On-screen we’ve had out best year-on year performance for 10 years with share of viewing for ITV Family up 4 per cent, driven by our continued investment in our high quality schedules.”
Meanwhile, Crozier has ruled out a bid for Richard Desmond’s Channel 5. “We are not looking at Channel 5″, he said – cooling speculation that ITV could be one of the bidders for its rival. Bids for Channel 5 are due by February 27th..