EXCLUSIVE: ITN Productions, the television production arm of UK news producer ITN, enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2019 as it delivered Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning Channel 4/PBS documentary For Sama.
ITN’s earnings for the 12 months to the end of December 2019, revealed that ITN Productions’ revenue jumped 20% to £18.2M ($22.6M) on the back of delivering 664 hours of content last year.
As well as For Sama, which was co-produced with Channel 4 News, the production unit was boosted by commissions around the December general election, its exclusive ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Netflix series History 101 and a three-year deal to keep making daily show Jeremy Vine for ViacomCBS’s UK network Channel 5.
Overall, ITN’s group revenue stood at £136M last year, which was an increase of 7% on 2018’s figure of £127M. ITN recorded a pre-tax profit of £2.4M in 2019, up 85% on the previous year’s £1.3M. Its operating profit fell 7% to £6.2M due to overheads and property costs.
The company listed coronavirus among its “principal risks and uncertainties.” ITN said it is afforded some protection by its long-term news contracts with ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, but the pandemic has hit its sports production and advertising divisions, increased technology costs with home working, and will have a “material negative impact” on its £142M pension deficit.
ITN furloughed around 20 employees earlier this month, in areas including sport production and advertising, although these divisions remain open for business. ITN’s earnings also revealed that it has put in place a hiring freeze.