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U.K. TV giant ITV reported a 2 percent revenue increase for the first quarter to £709 million ($985 million) “despite the COVID-19 restrictions in place throughout the period, unlike the same quarter in 2020, which only had a limited impact.”
ITV, led by CEO Carolyn McCall, said Wednesday that total advertising was down 6 percent for the quarter to £402 million ($558 million), but “rebounding” since April, leading it to forecast a first-half ad growth of around 26 percent, compared to the same period in 2020.
The company also said its production arm ITV Studios saw revenue rise 9 percent to £372 million ($517 million) in the first quarter.
“We have made a good start to 2021 with total revenue and total viewing both up, despite the continuing impact of the pandemic,” said McCall. “We finished the quarter strongly with the substantial majority of our shows back in production and a recovery in the advertising market.”
She added: “We are encouraged by the U.K. roadmap out of lockdown and remain cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. Our advertising revenues are rebounding from last year with April up 68 percent, and we expect May to be up around 85 percent and June up between 85 percent and 90 percent, compared to the same period in 2020. This is driven by U.K. COVID-19 restrictions being reduced and a strong schedule featuring Love Island and the Euros” soccer tournament.
“However, the advertising market and worldwide productions remain exposed to the risks associated with the pandemic,” she warned. “Accordingly, we continue to closely monitor the situation in all the countries in which we operate.”
Otherwise, McCall said her team’s strategy remains on track. “We remain committed to investing in the acceleration of our strategy to digitally transform ITV, which will, in part, be funded by the delivery of our cost-saving targets,” she said.
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