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ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster, has reported a 14 per cent fall in annual pre-tax profits to £553 million (€649.1m) as advertising revenues declined by 3 per cent.
ITV said it continued to rebalance and strengthen the business and blamed “wider political and economic uncertainty” for advertising falls. It wasn’t all bad news however, with the compnay reporting a 13 per cent increase in revenue from the ITV Studios division, and a 23 per cent rise in online, pay & interactive revenues.
Total viewing across its channels rose by 1 per cent last year, with the share for the main ITV channel increasing from 15 per cent to 15.4 per cent.
Adam Crozier, ITV plc Chief Executive, commented: “ITV delivered a good performance in 2016 as we continue our strategy of rebalancing and strengthening the business creatively, commercially and financially. The continued growth in revenue and adjusted profit, despite a 3% decline in spot advertising revenues resulting from wider political and economic uncertainty, is clear evidence that our strategy is working and remains the right one for ITV.”
“External revenue was up 3 per cent to more than £3 billionn, driven by strong growth in non-NAR as we further reduce our dependence on spot advertising and grow new revenue streams. In 2016, 53 per cent of total ITV revenues came from sources outside traditional TV spot advertising.”
“Our production business, ITV Studios, is a global player of scale with 50 per cent of total revenues coming from outside the UK and a stronger than ever pipeline of new and returning programmes in the key genres of scripted and formats. In 2016 ITV Studios supplied around 7,800 hours of content to 234 channels and platforms in the UK and internationally, including 155 hours of drama and 80 formats. There is growing demand for our content on OTT platforms with over 200 programme supply agreements in place.”
“Our Broadcast business is robust and onscreen we performed well with share of viewing up 3 per cent on our main channel. ITV maintains its leading position in the UK television advertising market, delivering 99 per cent of all UK commercial audiences over 5 million, and remains highly demanded by advertisers. Whilst our net advertising revenues have declined, we again outperformed the UK television ad market as a whole.”
“Our Online, Pay & Interactive revenues rose 23 per cent driven by increased demand for advertising online. The ITV Hub continues to thrive with online viewing up 42 per cent and around half of all the UK’s 16 to 24 year olds registered. We are also making selective investments in digital content companies including New Form, Rocket Jump, AwesomenessTV and Ginx TV as we build our expertise in digital first content.”
“We’ve taken an important step forward in our strategy of building our pay and distribution business with the soon to launch BritBox US, an SVoD 50/50 joint venture with the BBC offering the best of British TV from both broadcasters including recent series and classics. It is our intention to roll the service out internationally under the BritBox brand.”
“Whilst our net advertising revenues have declined, we again outperformed the UK television ad market as a whole,” he concluded.