ITV advertising hit by Brexit debate

ITV logo Image copyright Getty Images

ITV's advertising revenue was flat in the first three months of the year, amid what it calls "uncertainty" prompted by the Brexit debate.

It forecast advertising would continue to be affected in the first half.

However, overall revenues rose by 14% to £755m compared with the same time last year. ITV studios saw a 44% jump to £322m as a result of acquisitions.

In its trading update statement, ITV said it was now a much stronger and more diverse business.

It added it expected to see good profit growth in the first six months of the year.

"This is against the backdrop of uncertainty in the UK advertising market, which we have experienced since the debate over Brexit began, and significantly higher share of our programme spend in the first six months," said chief executive Adam Crozier.

Overall, non advertising revenue at the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster was up by 34% to £428m

ITV Studios performed particularly strongly boosted by the acquisition of other production houses.

"We have a healthy pipeline of new and returning programmes, including Victoria, Cold Feet, The Voice and Alone, which gives us confidence for the full year and into 2017," added Mr Crozier.

Last year's acquisition of John de Mol's Talpa Media has brought talent show format The Voice into the ITV stable. While the firs three series were shown on the BBC in the UK, it will move to ITV next year.

Image copyright Sander Koning/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption John de Mol's Talps Media was bought by ITV last year

Higher share

'ITV looks to be in a good position, with a strong balance sheet which means it can is keep funding the acquisition of new production houses, giving it more content to use at home, and to sell abroad, said Steve Clayton , head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown. .

"Earnings are enhanced by these deals compared to holding cash, and they also make ITV less dependent on terrestrial advertising revenues, though these are still an important source of income for the group.

"If ITV can find the right deals, at sensible prices, then it could grow even faster than the market consensus currently predicts," he added.

The main ITV channel's share of viewing rose by 3% in the first four months of the year and online viewing was up by 22%..

ITV said said online, Pay & Interactive were on track for double digit revenue growth and it repeated previous statements that it expected to outperform the UK television advertising market.

Shares were down by 1.6% following the publication of the results.

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