ITV puts worst of pandemic behind it amid advertising rebound

·2-min read

Broadcasting giant ITV has said the worst of the pandemic impact is behind it as the group revealed a strong advertising rebound, with the Euros helping it to a record June performance.

The group behind hit shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Love Island said the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament and easing of coronavirus restrictions saw it notch up a 115% hike in ad revenues last month – the best result in ITV’s history.

ITV said external revenues leapt 27% higher to £1.5 billion and total advertising revenues rose 29% to £866 million in the six months to June 30.

Pre-tax profits jumped to £133 million from £15 million a year ago and more than doubled on an underlying basis to £301 million from £143 million.

It forecast ad revenues to continue growing over the summer, albeit at a slower pace as it comes up against a solid performance from a year earlier, expecting July to be 68% higher and up to a 20% rise in August.

The group pledged to restart shareholder dividends thanks to the marked bounce-back, with plans for a 3.3p-a-share final payout at the 2021 full-year results.

Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, said: “Our half-year results demonstrate that ITV is emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic.”

She added: “We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues.”

Investment in ITV Studios and production continued over the half-year, with the group producing six of the top 10 rated dramas in the UK, including Line of Duty, Pembrokeshire Murders and Unforgotten.

But the results showed total viewing dropped 6% in the first half as it came up against record audience levels a year earlier during lockdowns, while the recent lifting of restrictions also impacted figures.

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