ITV Revenue Rises 5 Percent as Production Arm, Advertising Grow

ITV headquarters in London - H 2017
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The U.K. TV giant is led by CEO Carolyn McCall.

U.K. TV giant ITV, led by new CEO Carolyn McCall, on Thursday morning London time reported a first-quarter revenue gain of 5 percent to 772 million pounds, or $1.05 billion.

Production arm ITV Studios grew revenue 11 percent, including 9 percent organic growth without acquisitions. Total advertising revenue, including TV, online and sponsorships, rose 3 percent, with core net advertising revenue up 1 percent. ITV previously cited Brexit as a factor of uncertainty that has affected advertising spending and led to ad drops in recent quarters.

For the first half of 2018, ITV forecast total ad revenue to be up 2 percent, with "broadly flat" net advertising revenue.

The new CEO has also been reviewing the company's strategy and focus. "We are very focused on our strategic refresh," McCall had said in February. "This will enable us to define a clear strategy and priorities that will highlight the opportunities and address the challenges that we face in an increasingly competitive media landscape."

On Thursday, she said: "The strategic refresh is progressing well with great input and engagement from ITV people across the business. I look forward to sharing an update at our interim results in July."

About ITV Studios, she said on Thursday: "We have a solid slate of new and returning programs internationally for both broadcasters and OTT platforms with Unforgotten, The War of the Worlds, Snowpiercer, Good Witch, Suburra, The Voice, The Chase, Big Star's Little Star, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The Four and Forged in Fire."

And McCall provided a medium-term business outlook. "While the economic environment remains uncertain online advertising continues to grow strongly," she said. "We expect ITV total advertising to be up 2 percent over the first half, but profits will reflect the timing of the [soccer] World Cup. Over the full year we are on track to deliver double-digit growth in online revenue and good organic revenue growth in ITV Studios."