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U.K.'s ITV First-Quarter Revenue up 1 Percent

Lady vs. Lady

The British TV home of "Downton Abbey" said its TV studio would grow strongly for the full year, while second-quarter ad revenue would drop.

U.K. TV networks operator ITV on Wednesday reported a slight first-quarter revenue increase and predicted double-digit revenue growth this year at its ITV Studios production business.

But it said its second-quarter advertising revenue would drop amid tough comparisons with the year-ago period when it aired matches from the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.

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ITV, the British TV home of Downton Abbey, posted quarterly revenue of $869 million (£571 million). Broadcast and online revenue was up 6 percent to $707 million (£465 million) driven by a 6 percent net advertising revenue gain and a 17 percent increase in online, pay and interactive revenue.

ITV Studios revenue in the first quarter  dropped 5 percent to $306 million (£201 million). The company cited the "front-loaded delivery of programs last year," but said it will see double-digit growth for 2013.

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ITV recently acquired TV content producers The Garden and a majority stake in U.S. outfit High Noon Entertainment, the producer of Cake Boss.

"Our objective remains to outperform the TV ad market over the full year," ITV said about the full year 2013. ITV net ad revenue is forecast to be down around 3 percent over the first half of the year due to tough year-ago comparisons in the current second quarter.
 
“We’ve had a good start to the year with ITV outperforming the TV ad market in the first quarter, a strong performance on screen with the family share of viewing increasing 2 percent and further strong growth in online, pay and interactive," said ITV CEO Adam Crozier. “As we anticipated, the quarterly pattern of demand from advertisers in 2013 is very different to 2012, although we expect it to even out over the course of the year. While we are cautious about the outlook for TV advertising for 2013, our objective remains to outperform the market over the full year."

He added: “Looking across the whole year, we again expect to deliver good growth in all parts of the business as we continue to strengthen and rebalance ITV in line with the Transformation Plan.”

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai