ITV reports drop in revenues, demand for advertising as 70% of productions restart

Facing a “significant” decline in demand for advertising due to the pandemic, ITV saw a 17% drop in group revenues to £1.45 million for the first half of the year, ...
August 6, 2020

Facing a “significant” decline in demand for advertising due to the pandemic, ITV saw a 17% drop in group revenues to £1.45 million for the first half of the year, compared to £1.75 million in the year-ago period.

Overall, according to results released yesterday (Aug. 6), ad revenue dropped a whopping 46% in Q2 and after falling 21% in the first half of the fiscal year. The mediaco’s global television production arm, ITV Studios, also reported a 17% decline in revenues to £630 million (US$828 million).

Though Q1 ad revenue was up 2%, April fell 42%, followed by a 46% decline in May, a 42% decline in June and a 23% decline in July.

“Advertising from April onwards has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and as the situation remains uncertain, we are not in a position today to give guidance for August and September,” ITV stated its interim report.

Broadcast revenue and external revenue both took a 17% hit, down to £824 million and £1,218 million, respectively.

ITV roared back to life in June on a small number of productions. Of the 230 productions impacted or paused by the lockdwon, around 70%  have been delivered or are back in production.

“The impact on the rest of the year and 2021 will depend on how quickly COVID restrictions are reduced. We do expect some increased costs of production as a result of COVID measures,” the company stated.

ITV said its “seeing good demand for library content” and that its direct-to-consumer business is “performing well,” with 390,000 Hub+ subscribers and “good growth” in BritBox subscriptions in both the UK and the U.S.

“The majority of ITV’s colleagues continue to work seamlessly from home although we are bringing staff back from furlough as we restart productions and now have fewer than 300 colleagues on furlough,” ITV’s report stated. “We have planned a phased approach to re-entering the office safely which we will implement as appropriate in-line with government guidelines.”

With production restarting, the company said its having “more positive conversations with advertisers” and seeing some signs of improvement in advertising.

“Given the level of uncertainty for both ITV Studios and Broadcast it is not possible to provide financial guidance for Q3 or the remainder of the year.”

Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, in a statement called 2020 “one of the most challenging times in the history of ITV.”

“While our two main sources of revenue – production and advertising – were down significantly in the first half of the year and the outlook remains uncertain, today we are seeing an upward trajectory with productions restarting and advertisers returning to take advantage of our highly effective mass reach and addressable advertising platform, in a brand safe environment.

“The future is still uncertain due to the pandemic but the action we have taken to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 puts us in a good position to continue to invest in our strategy of transforming ITV into a digitally led media and entertainment company.”

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.