ITV suffered another poor quarter with the British commercial broadcaster blaming the fact that the “economic and political environment remains uncertain”. The company saw total external revenue down 7% over the last financial quarter, although its 5% decrease in advertising revenue was “better than previously guided”.
The company posted total revenue of £1.48B, compared to £1.59B at the same point last year. ITV Studios, the company’s main growth engine, saw revenue down 6% to £758M, pointing to delivered shows weighted towards the second half of the year.
ITV America was a particularly low spot for the business, with a drop in revenues of £62M from £141M to £79M compared to the same period last year. The hit was attributed to the fact that musical talent format The Four didn’t return, following two seasons in 2018 as well as the cancellation of Somewhere Between and the timing of Cake Boss and Fixer Upper.
ITV America’s decline was partly offset by a higher volume of Queer Eye being delivered to Netflix, more episodes for the fifth series of Good Witch for Hallmark and higher volumes of Pawn Stars and Forged in Fire. The company also pointed to shows set to be delivered in the second half of the year including Snowpiercer for TNT, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, Hell’s Kitchen US and Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers as well as results for CBS’ remake of Love Island.
Online growth, however, which includes its U.S. service BritBox and ITV Hub, was up 18% “against tough comparatives”.
The 5% fall in advertising growth was slight better than the 6% that it had expected over the first half of the year, particularly tough given the absence of a major football tournament this summer.
The extent to which ITV is relying on Love Island, which it renewed for two seasons in 2020, will largely be shown in its next financials, although the opening few episodes did help bolster results. It also pointed to titles such as Snowpiercer and Helen Hunt-fronted World On Fire.
Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, said: “ITV delivered another good viewing performance in the first half of the year. Online revenues grew strongly up 18% despite tough comparatives, with Love Island providing a strong finish to the half. This was reflected in better than expected total advertising revenue. The economic and political environment remains uncertain but we are very focused on delivering our strategy and creating a stronger, more diversified and structurally sound business to enable ITV to take advantage of evolving viewing and advertising opportunities.”
She added, “We are making good progress in each area of our strategy as we become an increasingly digital entertainment company. BritBox is set to launch in Q4, as is our new programmatic addressable advertising platform, and we are accelerating our digital and data capabilities. ITV Studios has a solid pipeline of new and returning shows this year – from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! to World on Fire to Snowpiercer – and is firmly on track to deliver our full year guidance.”