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Global a ray of hope for ITV as domestic revenues slide

The effects of the economic downturn have hit ITV hard at home but the silver lining in a set of weak financial results was the performance of the broadcaster’s Global Content business.

The commercial broadcaster recorded a 5% drop in broadcasting revenues of £1.2b ($1.9b) for the nine months to end-September and issued a dire forecast for ad revenues for the remainder of 2008, which it expects to decline 9%.

But the broadcaster’s Global Content division, which encompasses its production and programme sales business, notched a 35% increase in revenues of £206 million.

ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said the increase was driven by "production for international and increased commissions from [UK broadcasters] the BBC, Channel 4 and five."

With a deflated share price and contracting TV advertising market in the UK, ITV is attempting to maximize revenues from its Global Content business.

Reporting half-year results in June the broadcaster downwardly revised its targets for revenues from the unit, but still said it wanted Global Content’s revenues to hit £1b by end-2012.

Speaking to TBIvision at the recent MIPCOM market, Peter Iacono, president and managing director of ITV’s programme sales unit ITV Global Entertainment, said that despite the tough economic conditions the international unit is on track to hit its objectives.

"As a programme buyer you now have less to spend and all programme buyers must deliver more value from their budget," Iacono said. "It has become more difficult for sure, but we are on track to meet our targets."