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ITV on track for highest ad revenues in its 66-year history as TV rebounds

·2-min read
 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

ITV is on track for the highest advertising revenues in its 66-year history, the national broadcaster said today.

Shares leapt higher after ITV said advertising revenue was on track to rise by 24% by year end, which would take it above pre-pandemic levels and to an all-time high.

Advertising sales are up 30% so far this year, ITV said, helping revenue at its media and entertainment business climb 28% to £1.6 billion. Revenue at ITV Studios, which produces shows for the broadcaster and other channels, saw revenue rise 32% to £1.2 billion.

CEO Carolyn McCall said: “By any standards ITV has had an outstanding nine months. Revenue from each business over the nine months is up both on last year and on 2019.”

Hits so far this year include Love Island, Manhunt: The Night Stalker and Vera. At the Studios business, ITV produced Virgil for the BBC, Physical for Apple TV+ and Snowpiercer season 2 for Netflix.

Martin Clunes Manhunt: The Night Stalker (ITV)
Martin Clunes Manhunt: The Night Stalker (ITV)

McCall said: “ITV Studios continues to attract and support brilliant creative talent delivering significant growth in the UK and internationally. It has produced the biggest dramas of the year so far on both the BBC and ITV and revenue from streamers globally is growing very strongly.”

Total external revenue is up 28% to £2.4 billion so far this year, which is 8% above pre-pandemic levels.

ITV is benefiting from a resurgent advertising and production market as the world emerges from the pandemic. Brands are keen to take advantage of the excess savings built up by consumers during the pandemic. Broadcasters and streaming services are hungry for new productions after disruption to filming schedules during the pandemic.

Suranne Jones in Vigil (BBC)
Suranne Jones in Vigil (BBC)

McCall said: “ITV Studios continues to attract and support brilliant creative talent delivering significant growth in the UK and internationally. It has produced the biggest dramas of the year so far on both the BBC and ITV and revenue from streamers globally is growing very strongly.”

The strong performance comes amid speculation ITV could bid for rival Channel 4 if the government decides to privatize it. The Sunday Times reported that month that ITV was running the rule over the business. The government is currently consulting on whether to private Channel 4 and is expected to report its decision shortly.

ITV rose 9p or 8.3% to 118.3p.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: “Longer-term doubts remain about the position of linear broadcasters in an on-demand world and its reliance on cyclical ad revenues. Still the numbers are very good.”

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