ITV profits up as production business grows

Programme-making and online revenues increase - but key shows X Factor and I’m a Celebrity… under-perform

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ITV has reported a 14 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, to £327 million, for 2011, with Chief Executive Adam Crozier pointing to a revitalised production business as the key to the broadcaster’s success.

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Crozier said an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in non-advertising revenue – up  £93 million to £922 million – was due mainly to the growth of ITV’s UK and international programme-making arm.

ITV Studios grew its revenues by 10 per cent to £612 million, primarily on the back of international productions. Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes’s mini-series Titanic (due to begin airing in late March), a UK/Hungary/Canada collaboration, was one of 45 newly commissioned international co-productions, along with 26 recommissions. 

Despite a change of focus away from dependence on television advertising, revenue there was up by 1 per cent to £1.5 billion. Meanwhile, income from digital advertising and the online ITV Player grew 21 per cent to £34 million, thanks to a 44 per cent increase in views on the catch-up service. 

“The increase in non-advertising revenues of £93m, driven by our studios and online businesses, is clear evidence of progress in rebalancing the company and our ability to grow new revenue streams,” said Crozier.

But he admitted that core entertainment shows such as The X Factor and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! “did not perform as well” as they had in 2010 – although he said they were still key to its advertising strategy.

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“They remain very important brands for us as they still drive large, diverse audiences, which appeal greatly to advertisers,” said Crozier. “We remain committed to these programmes and continually look at ways of refreshing them to improve their on-screen performance.”