ITV profits up in 2015 despite viewership drop

The UK's largest private broadcaster reported revenue growth across all aspects of its business in 2015, including double-digit profit growth.
March 2, 2016

The UK’s largest private broadcaster reported revenue growth across all aspects of is business in 2015, including double-digit profit growth and a rise in pre-tax profits by 18% to £865 million (US$1.25 billion).

In the company’s year-end results, overall revenue was up 15% to £2.97 billion ($4.14 billion), net ad revenue went up by 6% to £1.72 billion ($2.42 billion), while online, pay and interactive was up 23% to £188 million ($265 million).

The biggest growth came from producer ITV Studios, which saw a 33% boost in revenue to £1.28 billion ($1.8 billion). The company is expected to deliver double-digit revenue and profit growth, driven primarily by recent acquisitions such as Talpa Media, Mammoth Screen and Twofour Group. The division’s profits were up 27% to £206 million ($290 million).

Last year marked the first that the production arm passed £1 billion in revenues and 53% of ITV Studios’ revenue now comes from outside the UK. Meanwhile, UK revenue went up 19% to £547 million ($770 million), while ITV America grew 36% to £320 million ($450 million) and the rest of the world was up 124% to £213 million ($300 million).

Chief executive Adam Crozier said ITV Studios had secured a higher proportion of 2016 revenue at this point in the year compared with in previous years “and our good drama slate gives us confidence into 2017.”

The spike in ad revenue came despite a 3% drop in ITV’s viewership share. Crozier said advertising revenue will be flat in the year’s first quarter but the second quarter will benefit from the Euro Cup Football tournament. Overall, he expects ITV to outperform the UK advertising market in 2016.

ITV’s programming slate for 2016 includes 50 hours of scripted drama, major rugby and football tournaments and entertainment formats The VoiceThe Voice Kids, Dance Dance Dance, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, The Chase, Hell’s Kitchen and Saturday Night Takeaway.

“We’ll continue to build scale and to capitalize on the strong demand for high-quality content that travels, with a particular focus on investing in creative talent and scripted projects, and working with more channels and platforms in the UK and internationally,” he said in a statement.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.