ITV revenues fall 3% as advertising continues to shrink

ITV satellite dish Image copyright Getty Images

Revenues at broadcaster ITV fell 3% in the first three months of the year as advertising income dropped 9%.

ITV, which makes Coronation Street, said it expected similar falls for the whole of the first half of the year.

The company blamed much of the fall on the strong revenues generated the previous year from its coverage of the European Championships football.

Its studio operations, which make hit programmes such as Cold Feet, saw revenues grow 7%.

Chief executive Adam Crozier, who last week announced he was stepping down, said the figures were "very much as we anticipated".

ITV shares fell 1.5% after the announcement to 197.8p.

George Salmon, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: "Advertising makes up a sizeable chunk of ITV's top line and the clouds hanging over the economy mean ad budgets are being cut, which is weighing on the shares.

"However, if it were not for ... Adam Crozier, one can't help but feel that the near 10% decline in the share price since Brexit would have been much worse."

Football effect

ITV said the lack of a major football tournament this summer will contribute to an 8% to 9% fall in advertising revenue for the first six months of 2017.

The effect will be felt particularly in June, when ad sales on its TV channels are expected to be down 15% to 20% "against the tough comparator of the Euros last year".

At the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday, Mr Crozier was asked if ITV would consider buying the Football League highlights, which are currently broadcast by Channel 5 but come up for renewal next year.

He said that ITV looks at rights as and when they become available.

Image copyright World Productions
Image caption ITV bought a majority stake in World Productions, maker of Line of Duty

Meanwhile, ITV said online advertising was growing strongly, up 22% in the first three months of the year.

Mr Salmon said: "The growth in on-demand services means the challenge for [Mr Crozier's] successor will be to mould ITV into a more interactive organisation to compete with Amazon and Netflix."

Studio production

Since Mr Crozier's arrival at ITV seven years ago its studios and productions business has almost trebled its revenues.

Last week the firm said it had acquired a majority stake in World Productions, the company behind Line of Duty, aired by the BBC.

In February it bought control of French production group Tetra, and in April bought 45% of Blumhouse Television, makers of The Jinx and Cold Case Files.

And it said that the weak pound, if it remained at its current level, could produce an additional £60m in revenue and £10m in profits from overseas sales over the whole year.

The broadcaster said full year profits for the whole group were still in line with its forecasts.

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