Covid-19 outbreak sees 42% drop in advertising demand for ITV | Major Businesses | Business
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
While it has seen demand for its content rise sharply since the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV has seen operational and financial performance significantly impacted by Covid-19.

ITV 7 april 2019As it announced a trading update for the first quarter of the year ending 31 March 2020, just as the lockdown was being implemented in the UK, ITV said that since mid-March its revenue engine, ITV Studios, has had to pause the majority of its productions globally as a result of the restrictions on working practices. In particular it has seen significant impact on the demand for advertising across most advertising categories, particularly from April which was down 42%.

Looking at the specifics from the quarter, ITV’s total external revenue was down 7% annually to £694 million, while total ITV Studios revenue was down 11% at £342 million, impacted by the phasing of deliveries and restrictions on working practices due to Covid-19. Broadcast revenue was up 2% year-on-year at £500 million, with ITV total advertising up 2% as originally guided, and online revenues up 26%.

Yet on the brighter side, ITV’s total viewing was up 2% with what was called very strong growth in online viewing up 75%, simulcast viewing up 112% and reach up 40% on the ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s on-demand service. ITV main channel's share of viewing (SOV) was marginally up at 17.9%, its best quarter since 2009 yet ITV Family SOV slipped 2% at 23.6%, partly impacted by the volume of the BBC's news output since the Covid-19 outbreak.

In commenting on the first quarter trading report and the hit that it has taken in 2020 so far, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall claimed that the company had taken “swift and decisive action” to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19,and that from a business perspective it would continue to reduce costs and tightly manage cashflow and liquidity. “We are also ensuring that we continue to inform and entertain our viewers and stay close to our advertisers,” she added. “Everyone at ITV has responded extremely well to the challenges we are facing. We are now very focused on emerging from this crisis in a strong position, continuing to offer advertisers effective marketing opportunities and making preparations to restart productions safely.”