For the three months ended March 31, British broadcaster ITV saw a 3% drop in revenues to £731M ($948.1M) while production arm ITV Studios experienced a 7% jump, lifting to £343M ($445M). The earnings report comes a week after it was announced that boss Adam Crozier is exiting the company after a seven-year run.
The outgoing Chief Executive said today, “ITV’s overall performance and the shape of the UK advertising market are very much as we anticipated and our guidance for the full year remains unchanged.”
Viewing remains strong both on-screen and online, ITV said, with the flagship channel swinging up 4% in terms of viewership share. Across all channels, viewership is up 2% and online saw a 32% increase.
In its full-year earnings report for 2016, ITV had seen group revenue grow by 3% with a 3% drop in net advertising revenue. That was attributed to an uncertain economic and political background as Brexit hovers. At the time,the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster predicted a 6% ad dip in the first four months of 2017. Today it said NAR would be down 8% to 9% for the first six months. Last summer had the benefit of the Euro Cup soccer matches.
Crozier said today, “While the economic environment remains uncertain our guidance over the full year remains unchanged. We expect to grow our share of broadcast and will continue to deliver good growth in Online, Pay & Interactive driven by strong demand for online advertising. We are confident that ITV Studios will report good organic revenue growth for 2017 and we have already secured over 75% of the expected full year’s revenue. We remain on track to deliver £25M overhead savings and a £25M reduction in the program budget with the absence of a major sporting event.”
The aggressively acquisitive ITV sees “clear opportunities to invest for further growth across the business.” Recent acquisitions have included a majority stake in Tetra, the French television production group; a 45% stake in Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Television; and a majority stake in World Productions.
Takeover chatter has continued to surround the company with John Malone’s Liberty Global, which owns 9.9% of ITV, floated as a possible buyer.
Crozier will leave ITV at the end of next month. Ian Griffiths will step into the newly-created combined position of Chief Operating Officer and Group Finance Director, and will lead the executive team for an interim period. ITV Chairman, Peter Bazalgette, will take on the role of Executive Chairman during that time. ITV says it has a “well developed succession plan” in place and that a longer term successor to Crozier will be announced in due course.