ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster, has published its Q3 trading update for the 9 months to September 30th. Total external revenue was down 16 per cent at £1.86 billion (€2.08bn).
Total ITV Studios revenue was down 19 per cent at £902 million. Broadcast revenue was down 13 per cent at £1.27 billion with ITV total advertising down 16 per cent and online revenues up 2 per cent.
ITV total viewing was up 2 per cent with an increase in live viewing. Online viewing was down 6 per cent with no summer Love Island and fewer episodes of the soaps, although monthly active users were up 1 per cent and dwell time was up 6 per cent
ITV Family’s share of viewing (SOV) was down 4 per cent from 23.2 per cent to 22.2 per cent, partly impacted by the volume of the BBC’s news output during the pandemic.
ITV saw advertising trends improve in Q3 with total advertising spend down 7 per cent year on year. July was down 23 per cent, August up 3 per cent, September down 2 per cent and October down 1 per cent compared to the same periods in 2019. September and October were against the Rugby World Cup in 2019. A number of categories spent more year on year in Q3 including FMCG, Supermarkets, Publishing and Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Food, Government, Charities and Other, and Household Stores.
ITV forecasts total advertising revenue to be slightly up year on year in Q4 with November up around 6 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. This assumes the current Covid restrictions in England end as planned on December 2nd.
Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, said: “We are seeing encouraging signs in both our divisions. Advertising trends are improving with Q4 forecast to be slightly up year on year and 85% of our productions in the UK and internationally that were paused as a result of Covid-19 are back in production or have been delivered. However, Covid restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity.”
“We remain focused on executing our More Than TV strategy as we accelerate our digital transformation. We are restructuring the Broadcast business to create a new Media and Entertainment Division to better reflect and serve changing viewing habits. The restructure will also drive improvements in efficiency and reduce costs. Planet V has reached another milestone allowing media agencies to self-serve advertising campaigns. We have further improved the design and functionality of the Hub which now has 32 million registered users; and BritBox is on track, with a very successful launch for Spitting Image – BritBox’s first original commission.”
“Looking ahead we will continue to monitor our performance very carefully against a wide range of scenarios given the ongoing uncertainty. We continue to focus on cash and costs and our balance sheet remains robust with good access to liquidity,” she added.