ITV profits rise after 'strong performance'
Commercial broadcaster ITV, home of Downton Abbey, has reported a big rise in profits for 2014.
Pre-tax profits - including exceptional items - rose 39% to £605m for the year to 31 December.
"ITV delivered another strong performances in 2014," said chief executive Adam Crozier. "All parts of the business are progressing well."
The firm announced a full-year dividend of 4.7p, up 34%, and proposed a £250m special dividend worth 6.25p a share.
Revenue rose 8% to £2.59bn, while net advertising revenue rose 6% to £1.63bn.
Non advertising revenue rose 10% to £1.3bn, boosted by a 30% increase in the company's online, pay and interactive division, and a 9% increase in revenue to £933m at its production arm ITV Studios.
The acquisitions of US TV companies Leftfield Entertainment and DiGa Vision in 2014 helped ITV Studios boost international revenue to nearly half the total.
During the year, ITV also launched new channels - ITV Encore, its first pay-only channel, and ITVBe, a free-to-air channel targeting a young female audience.
As well as popular dramas such as Downton Abbey and Doc Martin, ITV will broadcast the Rugby World Cup exclusively in the autumn.
Commenting on the results, Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: "The group's push to embrace technology continues to be rewarded, underlined by a 26% increase in viewing for its video-on-demand offering during 2014."