ITV has delivered a Q1 performance that it has described as “expected”. The UK commercial broadcaster said it had continued good viewing performance onscreen and online, with ITV Family Share of viewing up 4 per cent and online viewing up 16 per cent.
Total external revenue was down 4 per cent at £743 million (2018: £772m), with growth in ITV Studios revenue and 22 per cent growth in VoD revenues offset by the decline in spot advertising impacted by the timing of Easter and economic and Brexit uncertainty.
Total ITV Studios revenue was up 1 per cent at £385 million as planned (2018: £382m), with organic revenues at constant currency up 1 per cent.
ITV Broadcast & Online revenue was down 7 per cent at £489 million (2018: £526m) with ITV total advertising down 7 per cent.
ITV reconfimed guidance that the first half of the year will be impacted by the continuing economic and political uncertainty and its effect on the demand for advertising; the absence of the Football World Cup; the planned essential investments; the pre-launch costs of BritBox; and the timing of ITV Studios deliveries. ITV total advertising is expected to be down 6 per cent over the first half
Over the full year ITV said it continues to expect to deliver double digit growth in online revenue and good organic revenue growth in ITV Studios.
Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, commented: “ITV’s performance in the first three months was very much as we expected. Viewing has continued to be strong with ITV Family share of viewing up 4 per cent and a 16 per cent increase in viewing hours on the ITV Hub. This reflects the strength and depth of our schedule with highlights such as Manhunt, Cheat, Cleaning Up and The Bay which were the four most watched new dramas so far this year with more than 7 million viewers each, and the continued success of the Six Nations and Dancing On Ice. We have an exciting schedule for the remainder of the year including Wild Bill, Beecham House, A Confession, the Rugby World Cup and the return of Love Island.
“ITV Studios delivered 1 per cent growth in organic revenues. We remain confident that we will deliver good organic revenue growth in ITV Studios over the full year and have already secured over £120 million more revenue for 2019 than at the same time last year. We have a solid slate of new and returning programmes in the UK and internationally including Snowpiercer, World On Fire, Line of Duty – this year’s most watched programme in the UK, Zero Zero Zero, Hell’s Kitchen, Love Island and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.”
“We are making good progress in delivering the strategy and we expect to launch BritBox in the second half of the year. We have also concluded an agreement with a leading ad tech provider, Amobee, which will enable us to deliver programmatic addressable advertising around our premium video inventory on the ITV Hub. This means ITV can offer the best of both worlds at scale – mass simultaneous reach across linear channels where we delivered 100 per cent of all commercial audiences over 5 million, alongside targeted, data-driven addressable advertising in a brand safe environment on the ITV Hub.”
“We remain very focused on delivering in the areas we can control, with our investment and cost saving programmes on track, and we are actively mitigating the factors outside the company’s control. We have a solid balance sheet which enables us to make the right decisions to build a robust and growing business and deliver returns to shareholders in line with our guidance,” she concluded.