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U.K. TV giant ITV, the British home of Downton Abbey and The X Factor, on Tuesday reported third-quarter advertising revenue growth of 8 percent amid the Rugby World Cup, leaving ad revenue up 6 percent for the first nine months of the year, broadly in line with analysts’ expectations.
For the fourth quarter, the company forecast 3 percent ad growth, with October up 7 percent and the full year trending up at least 5 percent, “ahead of the market.” The company forecast to be flat in November, compared with the year-ago period, and up 4 percent in December, which would amount to the 3 percent overall growth for the fourth quarter.
The ad commentary comes after U.S. entertainment conglomerates have spoken of improved TV ad market momentum in their latest earnings reports. Importantly, ITV’s audience share performance also improved. ITV1’s audience share was down 3 percent for the first nine months of the year after being down 7 percent after six months.
Total external revenue at ITV rose 13 percent for the nine-month period. The ITV Studios content production arm continued to grow, ending that period up 28 percent, driven by both organic growth and acquisitions, including in the U.S.
Broadcasting and online revenue rose 7 percent for the first nine months. The company’s total non-advertising revenue increased 22 percent.
“As we expected, share of viewing has improved in the second half, driven by strong performances in daytime, the soaps and the Rugby World Cup, and continuing this trend remains a key focus for the business,” said CEO Adam Crozier. “ITV Studios goes from strength to strength with revenue up 28 percent, driven by good organic growth, particularly from the U.S. and Global Entertainment, and our acquisitions, including Talpa, our largest to date, are continuing to deliver. Our U.S. dramas have performed well with Aquarius and The Good Witch both recommissioned, while in the U.K. we have a strong pipeline of new drama coming through including Beowulf, Jericho, Victoria and Tutankhamun as well as returning dramas Unforgotten and Poldark.”
For the full year, on a constant currency basis, ITV said “we would expect ITV Studios revenue and profit to be £8 million and £2 million higher, respectively, as a stronger U.S. dollar is more than offset by our greater exposure to a weakening Euro following the Talpa acquisition.”
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