ITV First-Quarter Revenue Rises 13 Percent Driven by ITV Studios

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LONDON - British broadcaster ITV on Wednesday reported a 13 percent increase in its first-quarter revenue driven by a big jump at its production arm ITV Studios.

The company said that the big gain at the studios segment reflected the front-loaded delivery of a number of shows in 2012 and the inclusion of ITV Breakfast production revenue now that the company is producing its Daybreak show at ITV Studios.

Total company external revenue rose to £565 million ($912 million).

Broadcast revenue at ITV, which airs such shows as Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent and Downton Abbey, rose 1 percent. Non-advertising revenue increased 43 percent to £290 million ($468 million), led by a 61 percent gain at ITV Studios, which reached £212 million ($342 million).

ITV's broadcast advertising revenue declined 1 percent in the opening quarter. But it forecast that its net advertising revenue during the first half of 2012 would come in ahead of the market, eyeing a gain of 3 percent, as the firm said it would benefit from the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. It also predicted it would outperform the broader ad market, which it said continues to be "broadly flat," for the full year.

ITV Studios, meanwhile, is on track this year to grow revenue at a similar rate as in 2011, the company said.

"We continue to push forward with our five year transformation plan with external revenues up 13 percent in the first quarter of the year - driven by an increase in non-advertising revenues - in line with our strategy of rebalancing and growing the business," said ITV CEO Adam Crozier. "ITV Studios again performed strongly both in the U.K. and internationally – particularly in the U.S. – with an encouraging number of new commissions."

Audience share at ITV Family was down 2 percent in the first four months of the year. "However, we remain confident in our schedule with Euro 2012 in June and a strong autumn line up," Crozier said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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