ITV Revenue Rises as Studio Arm Grows 10 Percent

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ITV CEO Carolyn McCall

The U.K. TV giant, led by CEO Carolyn McCall, unveiled a strategy refresh this summer under the theme "More Than TV."

U.K. TV giant ITV early on Wednesday reported higher revenue for the first nine months of the year, with its studio arm, whose hit shows include Love Island and Hell's Kitchen, leading the charge. 

Total external revenue at ITV rose 6 percent for the nine-month period, with revenue at its ITV Studios content production arm ending the period up 10 percent, including 7 percent organic growth when excluding acquisitions. Broadcasting and online revenue increased 2 percent, with ad revenue also up 2 percent.

For the full year 2018, ITV said it expects total advertising revenue to be "broadly flat." Explained CEO Carolyn McCall, "We are seeing some softening in ITV family [advertising] in the fourth quarter due to the increasingly uncertain economic environment," which is expected to push advertising down around 3 percent in the final quarter of the year. Analysts took that as a reference to Brexit amid ongoing negotiations between Britain and the European Union.

The ITV Studios production arm was another key focus in the financial update. "Over the full year, we expect to deliver good growth in total ITV Studios revenues and profit in line with our expectations," McCall said. "Organic revenue growth is expected to be around 3 percent over the full year as a result of no Hell's Kitchen deliveries in 2018 compared to two in 2017 and Snowpiercer now being delivered in 2019 rather than the fourth quarter 2018 as originally anticipated."

McCall, who has been leading the company since the start of the year, unveiled a strategy refresh for ITV this summer under the theme "More Than TV." It focuses on strengthening the integrated producer broadcaster business model of operating networks and the ITV Studios TV production unit, growing U.K. and global production and creating a scaled direct-to-consumer business.

"We are making good progress with implementing the strategy — the investment and cost-saving programs, which we set out in July, are on track," she said Wednesday.

ITV recently said it would not return to its headquarters on London's South Bank, but will instead put it up for sale. One analyst said that it may be able to fetch about £245 million ($319 million) for the site.

The company last month also said that it wasn't planning to submit a takeover offer for Endemol Shine Group, the producer of such shows as Big BrotherMasterChefBlack Mirror and Peaky Blinders. On Tuesday, it emerged that Endemol's current owners have called off the process to sell the business.