Half-year earnings at UK’s largest commercial network, ITV, fell more than 50%, its latest interim financials show.
Group adjusted EBITA was down 52% at £152M ($197M) for the six months to June 30 — a result the broadcaster expected as the global advertising market continues to suffer. Last year the figure was £318M. Earnings per share were down 62%.
Revenues at ITV’s Media & Entertainment segment was down 9% at £964M but strong performances from production and sales wing ITV Studios (£1B) and the digital division (£218M), which houses streamer ITVX, meant total external revenues came in at £1.64B, down just 2% on the same six months in 2022.
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ITV Studios already has 89% of committed revenues for the full year, in line with last year, with new and returnable programs lined up.
ITV said ITVX, which replaced ITV Hub in November last year, was “attracting increased users, who are watching more and staying for longer” compared with its predecessor. Monthly active users were up 29% to 12.5 million and total streaming hours increased 33% to 737 million. Digital ad platform Planet V helped H1 digital ad revenue to hit £179M.
The network said ITVX’s performance gave it confidence it would deliver “at least” £750M in digital revenues by 2026.
“The continued momentum behind ITV’s strategic transformation delivered strong growth in Studios and Digital revenues in the first half of the year, largely offsetting the expected weakness in the UK advertising market — with total revenue declining just 1% in H1, even in a very tough advertising market,” said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall.
“ITV Studios increased revenue by 8%, reaching £1 billion in H1 for the first time with strong and growing global demand for ITV’s content.
“ITVX drove an increase in digital revenue of 24%, ahead of plan, supported by a step change in our viewer metrics – with more viewers watching more content and staying longer.
“ITV maintained its strength in linear in a challenging advertising market. Looking forward we see a more encouraging outlook as advertisers build their campaigns around the large streaming and linear audiences expected to be drawn to the Women’s World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the eagerly anticipated return of Big Brother.
“We remain on track to achieve all our KPI targets which gives us confidence we will deliver at least £750m of digital revenue by 2026. As we said at the full year results in March, 2023 is the year of peak net investment in our streaming business and we expect profit to grow from here.”
ITV also recommitted to cost savings of £15M for 2023 as part of a plan to save £50M by 2026, a figure that followed on from a £106M cost saving program between 2018 and 2022. Some £11M was saved in the first-half of the year.
This morning’s results also show BritBox International subs were up 7% to 3.2 million. The ‘Best of British’ service is available in the U.S., Canada and several other territories internationally.
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