ITV furloughs 800 as ad revenue slumps

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ITV, the UK’s dominant commercial broadcaster, has reported a 7 per cent fall in revenue as the Covid-19 pandemic hit demand for advertising in Q1 and continued into April, with advertising down 42 per cent for the month.

Meanwhile, the broadcaster has furloughed 15 per cent of its UK workforce, amounting to some 800 employees. Most were staff in the ITV Studios business, which produces programmes such as Love Island and Coronation Street.

Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, said: “ITV has taken swift and decisive action to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19, by focusing on our people and their safety, and by continuing to reduce costs and tightly manage our cashflow and liquidity. We are also ensuring that we continue to inform and entertain our viewers and stay close to our advertisers. Everyone at ITV has responded extremely well to the challenges we are facing. We are now very focused on emerging from this crisis in a strong position, continuing to offer advertisers effective marketing opportunities and making preparations to restart productions safely.”

Performance for the three months to 31 March

  • Total external revenue was down 7 per cent at £694 million (2019: £743m)
  • Total ITV Studios revenue was down 11 per cent at £342 million (2019: £385m), impacted by the phasing of deliveries and restrictions on working practices due to Covid-19
  • Broadcast revenue was up 2 per cent at £500 million (2019: £489m) with ITV total advertising up 2 per cent as originally guided, and online revenues up 26 per cent
  • ITV total viewing was up 2 per cent with very strong growth in online viewing up 75 per cent, simulcast viewing up 112 per cent and reach up 40 per cent on the ITV Hub
  • ITV main channel’s share of viewing (SOV) was marginally up at 17.9 per cent, its best quarter since 2009 while ITV Family SOV was down 2 per cent at 23.6 per cent, partly impacted by the volume of the BBC’s news output

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