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ITV's revenues up 14% despite concerns over possible Brexit

By Staff Reporter

ITV has said that revenues grew 14% to £755m in the first quarter, but warned that Brexit fears are impacting the television advertising market.

And the latest revenue growth update comes as John McCann, chief executive of Belfast-based Wireless Group, which was formerly UTV Media, formerly retires.

ITV's £100m deal to buy UTV's television assets was completed in February.

UTV and UTV Ireland's 250 staff are now part of ITV's global television business, while managing director Michael Wilson will remain at the helm of the Ireland business.

John McCann became chief executive of UTV Media in 1999 and led the expansion of its radio operation.

Meanwhile, sales growth at ITV was driven by a strong performance at the company's television production arm, ITV Studios.

Non-advertising revenue rose 34% to £428m, and ITV said it expects to deliver profit growth in the first half of the year.

However, chief executive Adam Crozier warned: "This is against the backdrop of uncertainty in the UK advertising market, which we have experienced since the debate over Brexit began."

Nevertheless, ITV described the UK television market as "robust" and flagged its pipeline of new and returning programmes such as Victoria, Cold Feet and The Voice as prospective drivers of growth.

ITV's main channel share of viewing was up 3% in the first four months, and its online viewing consumption grew by 22% year-on-year.

Mr Crozier added that he expects ITV Studios to deliver double-digit revenue and profit growth this year.

During its AGM yesterday, chairman Archie Norman also formally stepped down.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, currently chair of Arts Council England, will replace Mr Norman.

Steve Clayton, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "ITV looks to be in a good position, with a strong balance sheet, which means it can keep funding the acquisition of new production houses, giving it more content to use at home and to sell abroad."

Belfast Telegraph