British broadcaster ITV has reported a 2% rise in revenues to £709m for the first quarter.The positive total revenue trajectory is founded on a sharp recovery in ad revenues, which rose 68% in April after falling 6% in the three months to the end of March – cementing confidence in a predicted 85% increase in May and a rise of 85-90% expected for June.
ITV revenues bounce back
The commercial broadcaster, known for its wildly successful Love Island franchise, is on the rebound across most sectors with revenues at its production arm ITV Studios up by 9% at £372m – versus £342m last year.
First-quarter financial results were also flattered by a 14% jump in online revenues.
Not all is sunshine and roses in ITV’s garden, however, with media and entertainment revenue tarnishing the broader picture after slipping 3% to £484m from £500m a year prior, as the lag effect of the national lockdown continues to make its presence felt.
Advertising trends showing ‘positive signs’
The all-important advertising market was also badly affected, sinking 6% in the three months to the end of March.
There is light at the end of this particular tunnel, however, with impressive growth of 68% recorded in April, sufficient to offset earlier losses and power a 6% increase across the four months to the end of April versus last year.
Forward indicators all point towards a pronounced rebound extending further into the summer with May forecasts coming in at 85% growth and June expected to fall somewhere between 85 and 90% – as measured against the same period last year – as the Euros and Love Island drive commerce.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall commented: “We finished the quarter strongly with the substantial majority of our shows back in production and a recovery in the advertising market.
“However, the advertising market and worldwide productions remain exposed to the risks associated with the pandemic.”
OK – anything else?
Other positive trends include a 1% increase in total viewing as audiences lapped up shows such as Unforgotten, Saturday Night Takeaway and the Six Nations, complementing staple programmes such as soaps, news and daytime TV which reliably deliver audiences en masse.
The ITV Hub catch-up service also logged a 5% increase in users with dwell time up a healthy 6%.
On the flip side, online viewing dipped 11% over the quarter as the absence of winter Love Island in January and February was bitterly felt. When the outsize impact of Love Island is excluded online viewing surged 23%.
ITV’s bread and butter main channels also performed well, with a share of viewing (SOV) rising from 17.9 to 18.2% overall – although its share of the crucial family demographic slipped from 23.6% to 23.1% over the period.