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ITV announces profits for 2009

ITV has today announced that it returned to an annual profit during 2009.

The broadcaster's full year figures show that it made a pre-tax profit of £25m in 2009, contrasting with the £2.7bn loss it reported in 2008.

ITV said its TV ad revenues in 2009 were down 9% year on year to £1.29bn, but it outperformed the wider market which fell by 11%.

The company says the advertising market is now in recovery and expects a 7% rise in ad revenues for January-March.

Andy Viner, head of media at BDO LLP, said the results were encouraging but more challenges lie ahead.

“This is a positive set of results and shows that ITV are holding their own in an increasingly challenging market.

“Management has done well to tackle the obvious and immediate issues. Their performance is ahead of the market, cash generation is good, net debt has been reduced, cost savings are ahead of target and the pension deficit has reduced. The ship is looking steady, but there are more rough seas to come.”

ITV's new chief executive, Adam Crozier, will start on 26 April. Viner said Crozier “still faces the challenge of transforming a traditional broadcasting model in to one which creates both profitable content and a sustainable business model”.

"It is encouraging to see a good performance in the last quarter and that 2010 has started well,” Viner said. “However, they will need to develop a strategy that avoids being so dependent on the cycle of advertising revenues. Their advertising revenues this summer will be boosted by the fortunes of England in the World Cup so it won't just be Fabio Capello who prays that England make it to the final."

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