ITV business hit hard in first half of year | Major Businesses | Business
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Noting that these are among the most challenging times that the company has faced and that the future is still uncertain due to Covid-19, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV has released interim half-year results showing operational and financial performance has been materially impacted by the pandemic.

For the half year ended 30 June 2020 ITV reported marked falls in revenue benchmarks across its key busines lines and suffered from not just secular declines in advertising but also from the decision taken by ITV Studios in mid-March to pause the majority of its productions globally as a result of the restrictions on working practices.

For the half year there was a 17% year-on-year decline in total external revenue to £1.218 billion and a similar percentage fall in total broadcast revenue to £824 million. at the heart of the falls was a ‘significant’ decline in the demand for advertising across most advertising categories with total advertising revenue down 43% in Q2 and down 21% in the first six months of 2020. Hitherto cash generation engine ITV Studios reported a 17% fall revenues in H1 to £630 million. These resulted in a 50% decline in adjusted EBITA to £165 million and 53% decline in adjusted EPS to 2.9p.

Yet there was better news in terms of viewing share as, especially in the early days of the lockdown, UK public service broadcasters saw viewers flock to their channels. ITV Total viewing was up 4% annually and ITV Family light viewing was up 8% in spite of the strong growth in streaming, with online viewing up 13% and dwell time up 11%. However, ITV Family share of viewing (SOV) was down 4% in H1 to 22.6% impacted by the volume of BBC's news output.

As she commented on the results and the prospects for the broadcaster, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said that she was proud of the way that the company had responded to Covid-19 and that the challenging times had helped demonstrate the enduring value of ITV as a public service broadcaster. She also expressed some optimism about the situation going forward.

“ITV continues to inform and entertain the nation throughout this crisis, across our six channels including 10 hours of live broadcast every weekday as well as increased content on ITV Hub and BritBox,” she noted. “While our two main sources of revenue - production and advertising - were down significantly in the first half of the year and the outlook remains uncertain, today we are seeing an upward trajectory with productions restarting and advertisers returning to take advantage of our highly effective mass reach and addressable advertising platform, in a brand safe environment…The future is still uncertain due to the pandemic but the action we have taken to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 puts us in a good position to continue to invest in our strategy of transforming ITV into a digitally led media and entertainment company.”