Double digit growth at ITV Studios helped the British commercial broadcaster offset falling advertising revenue as recently installed Chief Executive Carolyn McCall revealed plans for a “strategy refresh”.
The production business, which produces series such as Dancing On Ice, Victoria and Love Island grew 13% over the full year to the end of December 2017, taking in £1.58B (US$2.2B). This helped total revenue at ITV grow to £3.13B.
The advertising numbers across ITV’s portfolio of channels were down 5%, as anticipated, totalling £1.59B, although it has forecast that advertising is expected to grow by 1% in the first half of 2018 and expects solid growth over the summer thanks to the World Cup.
McCall, who joined the company from airline Easyjet at the start of the year, revealed plans to kick off a “strategy refresh”, designed to discover how it can both compete with and work with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
“ITV is in good shape but we recognise that the media landscape continues to change rapidly, with more content to watch and more ways to watch it. The economics are also changing. We are operating in an increasingly competitive market – traditional broadcasters are no longer our only competitors for viewers, for advertising and for quality content. These relatively ‘new’ competitors are also customers. We have kicked off a strategy refresh to address all of these areas and we have identified three major areas in this refresh – content, advertising and direct to consumer. We will have a clear strategy, together with well-defined priorities, to establish what ITV needs to be in three and five years’ time and what we need to do to face the challenges and exploit the opportunities ahead,” she said.
ITV, which owns a raft of production companies in the UK, U.S. and around the world, is expected to continue to focus on building this global content pipeline. She said that Netflix is set to become its biggest customer for its distribution division ITV Studios Global Entertainment this year, buying drama and unscripted content in the U.S.
“Creating and owning quality content is a real advantage. The integrated producer broadcaster model is also a benefit – we have a great opportunity to make content famous on our channels in the UK before selling it round the world. Not only does our success on-screen and online depend on having fantastic content, but the global demand for high quality programming remains strong as broadcasters and platform owners look for brand defining content,” she added.
In addition to the 2018 World Cup, ITV is high on a number of forthcoming series including Amazon co-pro Vanity Fair, Sister Pictures’ Clean Break, Two Brothers Pictures’ White Dragon and the return of Britain’s Got Talent and Little Big Shots.