In a trading update published ahead of the company’s annual general meeting today, ITV said that its broadcast business has made “a very strong start to the year” with net advertising revenues up 12% in Q1 and growth across all the major categories.
“Online, pay and interactive continues to grow strongly, helped by growth in online advertising and by our pay channel ITV Encore, which launched last June,” said ITV CEO Adam Crozier.
However, he added that share of viewing across ITV’s portfolio of channels was down 3% year-on-year, despite audience growth at its digital channels, with share of viewing remaining “a key focus for the year.”
“We are firmly focused on the main channel where we expect to see improvement in the second half of the year when we will have the benefit of the exclusive rights to the Rugby World Cup,” said Crozier.
Broadcast and online revenue came to £530 million, up 10% year-on-year, while revenue from ITV Studios was up 17% to £224 million.
“ITV Studios returned to organic growth [of 8%], which contributed around half of Studios revenue growth, while our acquired businesses remain on track,” said Crozier,
“We remain focused on building a global scripted business, with a number of high profile dramas this year including Thunderbirds Are Go, The Good Witch, Texas Rising (top), Aquarius (left), Raised by Wolves and Jekyll & Hyde. Looking forward to the rest of the year we have a healthy pipeline of new drama to come.”
Looking ahead, ITV said that it expects net advertising revenues to be up by around 5% in in the first half of the year. It said ITV Studios remains on track to increase revenue by around £100 million on a constant currency basis with the benefit of its acquisition of Talpa Media, which closed last month, still to come.