ITV Studios earnings hit £100 million for first time

ITV Studios’ earnings topped £100 million (US$152 million) for the first time in its history last year, its latest financial results have revealed.

The production and distribution arm of the UK broadcaster ITV, ITV Studios, grew its EBITA profit 29% year-on-year, taking the total to £107 million, according to ITV’s financial results for the year to December 31, 2012. ITVS also saw revenue grow by £100 million for the first time, up 16% to £712 million from £612 million in 2011.

International production revenue grew 21% to £171 million, while distribution arm ITV Studios Global Entertainment offset declines in the DVD market with sales of shows including the Julian Fellowes-penned Titanic miniseries and Prime Suspect to score 6% revenue growth.

The growth at ITVS reflected “investments in creative talent over the lat couple of years”, the broadcaster claimed. ITV is currently in the third year of CEO Adam Crozier’s five year Transformation Plan, which aims to make the business less reliant on TV advertising revenue, primarily by growing its international business.

ITVS delivered more than 100 new commissions during the year, while the number of re-commissioned shows “crucially” grew from 101 to 108, the company said.

Growth was attributed to UK formats including May the Best House Win, Come Dine With Me and The Audience, which were cited as key international performers; and its US business, where shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and The Bill Cunningham Show performed well and new commissions such as CNBC’s Car Brokers were scored. By territory, Australia and France were singled out as growth drivers.

CEO Crozier said 2012 had been “a real step change in the creative capability and output of our ITV Studios content business,” and added: “While there is still much to do, this is clear evidence that ITV is transforming into a more robust, efficient and balanced company.”

The results also revealed ITV had paid a combined £38 million in cash for the 100% acquisitions of Nordic prodcos MediaCircus and Tarinatalo and So Television in the UK and a 61.5% stake in US factual producer Gurney Productions. This figure could rise to £96 million depending on performance, and ITV noted it has a put and call option on the remaining shares in Gurney.

Overall, ITV recorded a pre-tax profit of £348 million, up 6% year-on-year, and revenue of £2.19 billion, up 3% compared with 2011. The TV broadcasting unit grew slightly despite a 3% in overall family viewing share, which Crozier attributed to one-off events on other channels such as the London Olympics on the BBC and claimed was unlikely to impact ad performance this year.

Online, pay and interactive revenue was up 26% to £102 million.

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