Revenues fall in Q3 but ITV claims green shoots of recovery | Major Businesses | Business
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While the amount of television consumed has risen steadily over 2020 the since the Covid-19 pandemic, broadcasters have faced substantial business headwinds and the third quarter results of the nation’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV have showed clearly how strong these are.
ITV 7 april 2019
In a trading statement for the nine months to 30 September 2020, ITV revealed that total external revenue was down 16% compared with the same quarter a year ago at £1.86 billion, with falls in its two key divisions. Total ITV Studios revenue was down 19% on an annual basis at £902 million while revenue at the Broadcast business line slipped 13% year-on-year to £1.27 billion.

Offering a clear view of the commercial environment into which it was selling, ITV revealed that even though total advertising was down 16% compared with the end of Q3 2019, online revenues had risen 2%.

The good news for the company was that it had enjoyed increases in viewing time. ITV’s total viewing was up 2% with an increase in live viewing. Yet online viewing was down 6% annually attributed to the fact that the pandemic had caused the cancellation of flagship summer show Love Island and that there had been fewer episodes of the soaps. That said, monthly active users were up 1% and dwell time was up 6%. ITV Family's share of viewing (SOV) was down 4% from 23.2% to 22.2%, partly impacted said the broadcaster by the volume of the BBC's news output during the pandemic.

Assessing the current state of the company and also its future prospects revealed in the results, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said that despite the falls, the company was actually seeing what it called encouraging signs in both key divisions. As much as 85% of the 230 productions that were impacted or paused by the lockdown have delivered or are now back in production.

“Advertising trends are improving with Q4 forecast to be slightly up year on year and 85% of our productions in the UK and internationally that were paused as a result of Covid-19 are back in production or have been delivered,” she noted. "We remain focused on executing our More Than TV strategy as we accelerate our digital transformation. We are restructuring the Broadcast business to create a new Media and Entertainment Division to better reflect and serve changing viewing habits. The restructure will also drive improvements in efficiency and reduce costs.”

However, McCall also cautioned that Covid restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity.