British commercial broadcaster ITV has revealed the first details of its “strategic refresh” as the World Cup and reality series Love Island helped revenues grow in the first six months of 2018.
The company posted total external revenue growth of 8% to £1.59B, up from £1.47B in 2017. This was aided by a 16% rise in revenues at ITV Studios, up from £692M in the first six months of last year to £803M as well as total advertising revenue growing 2% and online revenues, particularly via its ITV Hub, growing by 48%. However, EBITDA across the group was down 7% to £375M.
ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall outlined that the company will continue to focus on being an integrated producer broadcaster with a strong production business as part of its ‘More than TV’ strategy.
The three areas of focus for ITV’s new strategy, which it stated was “very much a refresh not a reboot”, are strengthening the integrated producer broadcaster, which points towards a more vertically integrated future, growing its UK and global production businesses and created a “scaled” direct-to-consumer business.
In 2019, it plans to invest £40M across the business in this strategy, and £60M over the course of the next three years. This will be offset by between £35M and £40M of cost savings that it hopes to achieve “without impacting the culture and creative and commercial strength of the business”.
She said, “ITV will be more than TV – it will be a structurally sound integrated producer broadcaster where we aim to maintain total viewing and increase total advertising revenue; it will be a growing and pro table content business, which drives returns; and it will create value by developing and nurturing strong direct consumer relationships, where people want to spend money on a range of content and experiences with a really trusted brand.
“We will deliver this strategy by building greater capability in data, analytics and technology as well as developing the great creative and commercial talent ITV already has. Executing the strategy will enable us to continue to deliver sustainable returns to our shareholders.”
“There’s never been a better time to be a creative entertainment company with viewers’ appetite higher than ever for quality content and this is set to grow by around 5% globally over the medium term. ITV is well placed to take advantage of this opportunity and our strategy refresh which will enable us to drive pro t from three separate sources – advertisers, broadcasters/platforms and consumers.”
ITV Studios bolstered the number of hours produced across the last six months by 10% to 4,000 hours. It grew its revenues in the UK, by 7% to £328M, in the U.S. by 2% to £141M and globally by 55% to £247M.
In the UK, this was attributed to The Voice, Love Island, Dancing on Ice and an extra episode of Coronation Street as well as Poldark.
However, the company did reveal that it has cancelled Mammoth Screen’s family thriller Next of Kin, which starred the Good Wife’s Archie Panjabi and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Davenport.
In the U.S., growth was driven by two series of The Four, Four Weddings and Mama June and the figures grew despite the cancellation of Duck Dynasty and the absence of deliveries of Pawn Stars, American Grit and Hell’s Kitchen.
It noted that it has a strong pipeline of new and returning drama and entertainment shows, including Alone, Queer Eye, Suburra, The Hunt, Milk & Honey and House of Talent and is confident that it will deliver good organic growth over the full year, highlighting that it has 263 new or recommissioned shows, 36 more than this time last year.