ITV Profits Up on ‘Downton Abbey,’ ‘Titanic' Successes

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LONDON -  ITV shares were up 8 percent on Wednesday as the broadcaster unveiled a 14 percent increase in pre-tax profits to $536 million in 2011, driven by success of its production, sales and digital channels. Total revenue grew by 4 percent to $3.4 billion, with advertising performance at ITV’s digital channels improving but falling by one percent at its core channel ITV1.

While shows like X Factor performed strongly, year-on-year performance was down. In a conference call to journalists, Chief executive Adam Crozier said ITV was keen to revitalise its roster of key shows.

“Of course Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor are important programs on the entertainment side, but a lot of these shows have been running for some years and it is sensible to look for new ideas,” he said.

“The last two or three years there hasn’t really been anything new around. Probably only The Voice and even that is a derivative of some of the shows around.”

Crozier said that Red or Black­, the ambitious Simon Cowell-produced Casino-style gameshow, might return in a less expensive form but did not give more details.

The show, which debuted to mixed response from critics, was one of ITV’s most expensive productions to date.

ITV’s studios business saw a 28 percent increase in new commissions to 111. Titanic, written by Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster, has already proved a big seller.

“We're now almost two years into our five-year transformation plan and our continued growth in revenue and profit - at a time when the advertising market is broadly flat - demonstrates that we're performing in line with our strategic priorities,” Crozier noted.

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