Strong line--up boosts ITV profits
THE popularity of The X Factor, Doc Martin and rugby's World Cup tournament helped boost broadcaster ITV's third quarter revenues, it said today.
Advertising revenues rose by 1pc in the three months to September 30, defying expectations of a fall, while the improvement in its ITV Studios business continued after it sold new shows including Prime Suspect overseas.
But the group remained cautious about its prospects in 2012 and expects advertising revenues to decline by 10pc in December as it comes up against tough comparatives with the previous year.
Its on-screen performance in the final quarter of 2011 has been boosted by I'm A Celebrity, Downton Abbey and The Jury.
ITV's overall share of the TV market for the first nine months of 2011 is up 2pc to 23pc, driven by its digital channels and online, while it is on course to outperform the television advertising market as a whole in 2011.
The group, which is also home to Coronation Street, is one year into a five-year transformation plan, which has seen it focus on "re-energising" the creative pipeline of its ITV Studios business.
ITV Studios saw its external revenues increase 9pc to £224 million in the nine months, which is ahead of expectations. It has invested in 89 new commissions, including Titanic, a major new drama for 2012 by Julian Fellowes which has been sold to 57 countries.
Overall revenues rose 4pc to £1.5 billion in the first nine months of 2011 "despite difficult economic and market conditions".
The group said it is on course to have net cash at the end of the year, compared to net debt of £612 million at the beginning of 2010.
Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "Our relentless focus on delivering the transformation plan is now impacting positively on our results."
He said the group was on track to deliver its plan and remains optimistic about its prospects in the medium to long-term.
The group is cautious about next year but said comparisons will ease from the second quarter, helped by the Euro 2012 football championships.