Brexit Gnaws at ITV Ad Revenue, But Production Remains Buoyant

Leo Barraclough
Variety

U.K. broadcaster ITV has started to pay the price for the uncertainty caused by Britain’s decision to exit the European Union, which continues to shake business confidence.

Advertising revenue at ITV in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, was down 4%, the company reported Thursday, and is forecast to be down around 7% in the final quarter and 3% over the full year.

Adam Crozier, ITV’s chief executive, said: “In recent weeks, the political and economic uncertainty has increased, and we are currently seeing more cautious behavior by advertisers.”

Advertising revenue was down 11% in October, which compared badly with the previous year when ITV aired the Rugby World Cup. ITV ad revenue is forecast to be down around 6% in November, and around 4% in December.

Crozier said ITV was outperforming the TV ad market in the U.K. in general, and ITV’s main channel has seen a 3% growth in its market share of viewing so far this year.

He also pointed to the success of ITV’s long-term strategy of re-balancing the business so that it’s less dependent on advertising revenue. Non-advertising revenue was up 15% to £1.252 billion ($1.55 billion) in the nine months to Sept. 30, which helped to deliver total revenue growth of 5% to £2.157 billion ($2.67 billion).

ITV Studios, the company’s production division, delivered an 18% rise in revenue growth to £923 million ($1.14 billion) in the nine-month period. It has a strong pipeline of new and returning dramas, Crozier said, including “Victoria,” “Poldark,” “Cold Feet” and “Prime Suspect 1973.” ITV has sold about 60 formats globally so far this year, including “The Voice,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Love Island.”

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