Advertising and World Cup boost ITV profits 11%

Germany's team holding the  World Cup Something to cheer about - a World Cup boost for ITV profits

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Profits at ITV, Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, rose thanks to the World Cup boosting its market share and a pick-up in advertising.

First half profit rose 11% to £322m as net advertising revenue rose 7%, faster than the market as a whole.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said the economic recovery was leading to an improved advertising market.

Its production business - ITV Studios - saw earnings rise 14%.

New productions slated for 2015 include Texas Rangers and Aquarius in the United States, and Jekyll & Hyde, Jambusters and Thunderbirds Are Go in the UK.

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ITV is also now the biggest unscripted independent production company in the US after buying 80% of Leftfield Entertainment, a producer of reality programmes such as Pawn Stars, Counting Cars, and Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Mr Crozier said: "Share of viewing improved during the second quarter, helped by the Fifa World Cup, and we're confident of our strong Autumn schedule with both new and returning drama and entertainment."

ITV shares rose briefly and then fell back after the the results were announced.

They have been close to 13 year highs on take-over rumours which started when John Malone's Liberty, owner of British cable TV group Virgin Media, bought a 6.4% stake in the broadcaster earlier his month from satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

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