ITV reports revenue increase

Global Content sales up 41%

LONDON -- Leading commercial broadcaster ITV said revenue was up 3% at 492 million pounds ($957 million) in the first three months of the year and that sales from Global Content, its production, formats and international sales division, were up 41% at 58 million pounds ($112 million).

"Growth has been driven by a strong performance in international production, and we've secured major primetime commissions and format sales to Fox, NBC and CBS in the U.S.," executive chairman Michael Grade said.

Announcing the interim management statement, which gave no details of the broadcaster's net profit or loss over the period, Grade said ITV had added to its international production portfolio with the 14 million pound ($27 million) acquisition of Scandinavian production house Silverback, which was launched by Dutch media mogul John de Mol's investment vehicle Talpa Media in 2006.

The broadcaster will pay 5 million pounds ($9.7 million) upfront with the remaining 9 million  pounds ($17.5 million) payable over the next three years, subject to the creator of such formats as "West End Star" and "The Missing Link" meeting unspecified revenue targets.

Revenues from ITV's broadcasting division were down 2% at 409 million pounds ($795 million), but the share of adult commercial impacts on flagship net ITV1 increased by 1.5%.

Grade said that the broadcaster had "made further progress" in its turnaround plan, with advertising on ITV1 forecast to outperform the U.K. advertising market for the first time since 2000.

Speaking on a conference call, ITV operating officer John Cresswell rejected speculation that the dramatic departure of Dawn Airey had destabilized the broadcaster.

"We will move on. We enjoyed working with (Dawn), but she has chosen to do something else. We have a really strong team in place," he said.
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