Belfast Telegraph

ITV revenues up 14% to £755m but warns Brexit fears impacting advertising market

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

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

Non advertising revenue rose 34% to £428 million, 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 over the year and going into 2017.

ITV's main channel share of viewing was up 3% in the first four months of the year 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.

ITV holds its AGM later on Thursday, where chairman Archie Norman will formally step down.

Mr Norman, who has been hailed for turning the broadcaster around, took over the chairmanship from Michael Grade in 2010, when ITV's share price was 50p. It is now trading at 215p.

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.

"Earnings are enhanced by these deals compared to holding cash, and they also make ITV less dependent on terrestrial advertising revenues."