ITV revenues rebound sharply in first half of 2021 | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Even though it conceded present challenges and uncertainties will persist, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV has released half-year interim results showing growth in all areas of the business claiming to now be benefitting from the actions put in place when the pandemic first broke.
ITV logo large 19 Oct 2020
The company emphasised that driving the bounce back was the fact that within its ITV Studios business the substantial majority of its programmes were back in production and in its Media & Entertainment (M&E) division, total advertising revenues rebounded strongly.

This all added up to a half year ended 30 June 2021 with ITV generating total external revenue of £1.548 billion, up 27% on an annual basis, with adjusted group EBITA up 98% at £327 million. This was said to have been driven by a strong recovery in the advertising market, resumption of productions, cost control delivering £21 million in savings, of which £15 million ITV regarded as permanent. June 2021 delivered the largest advertising revenues for the month of June for ITV in its history, benefitting from the easing of restrictions and the Euros. Total TAR for June and July 2021 is expected to be 16% higher than the same period in 2018 when ITV broadcast the Football World Cup and series 4 of Love Island.

ITV Studios total revenue up 26% at £798 million, with this figure boosted by not only the substantial majority of programmes back in production but also by a number of programmes and licences being delivered earlier than expected. This was up 5% on 2019. ITV Studios external revenue was up 31% at £523 million.

Highlights for the business line included labels within ITV Studios producing six of the top 10 rated dramas in the UK including Line of Duty, Pembrokeshire Murders and Unforgotten; Physical and Cowboy Bebop in US and Summertime in Italy. Unscripted programmes enjoyed success globally with The Cabins and Dancing On Ice in UK; Love Island in UK, Spain, Germany and Netherlands; and The Chase in the UK, US, Germany and Australia. However, the company did caution that challenges still remained in delivering programmes under Covid-19 restrictions, particularly multi-location shoots.

Media & Entertainment (M&E) revenue was up 25% at £1.028 billion with total advertising revenue (TAR) up 29% within which video-on-demand advertising (AVOD) was up 55%. Total M&E revenue was up 4% on 2019.

It was a mixed picture though for viewing. Total ITV viewing was down 6% in the first half against what were described as tough comparatives and the easing of lockdown restrictions but the company reported strong ratings from programmes including Unforgotten, Saturday Night TakeAway, The Masked Singer, Euro 2020 and the start of Love Island. ITV main channel share of viewing (SOV) was up from 16.9% to 17.4%; ITV Family SOV was up from 22.6% to 22.7%.

Viewing on the ITV Hub on-demand service was up 6%, in spite of tough comparatives of Winter Love Island in 2020. Dwell time was up 4% and simulcast viewing was up 20% annually. Registered users for the ITV Hub were up 7% at 34.6 million and monthly active users (MAU) were up 7%.

Commenting on the first half year results, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said the H1 results demonstrated that ITV was emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic. “We've continued to implement our key strategic priorities and have further strengthened the business,” she said. “We are now a more flexible, more efficient and more digital business. We have successfully completed the first phase of our More Than TV strategy and look forward to building on this platform to accelerate our transformation to a digitally led media and entertainment company. We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues.”