ITV profits boosted by Downton Abbey and X Factor

Profits at commercial broadcaster ITV rose by 14% last year thanks to strong advertising on hit shows Downton Abbey and the X Factor.

Pre-tax profits were £327min the year to December 2011.

The broadcaster said it gained market share thanks to its digital channels, which include ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4.

ITV's shares were more than 8% higher after the release of the results, which also showed it was becoming less reliant on income from advertising.

However, despite the success of its two leading hit shows and perennial favourite Coronation Street, market share on the flagship ITV1 channel dipped 1%.

The broadcaster said that its warning last year that advertising revenues would fall in 2012 was proving correct.

New programmes

ITV is two years into a five-year transformation plan which is intended to lessen the company's reliance on advertising income by increasing its revenue from programme production.

ITV's chief executive, Adam Crozier, said the plan was beginning to pay off, with non-advertising revenues up by 11% to £922m.

Profits were also helped by £20m of cost savings, higher than the £15m it originally thought it could make.

The studios business saw a 28% increase in new commissions to 111.

ITV said it had sold its yet-to-be broadcast Titanic drama, written by Downton author Julian Fellowes, to 86 countries.

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