Belfast Telegraph

Profits increase for a sixth consecutive year at ITV

By Ben Woods

Broadcaster ITV - the new owner of UTV - has announced its sixth straight year of double-digit profit growth.

The increase came despite falling audience figures for key shows such as The X Factor.

Underlying profits before tax rose 18% for the full year to £843m, with total revenues climbing 14% to £3.3bn over the same period.

ITV, whose family share of viewing was down 3%, also forecast a bright year ahead for the business and announced a special dividend of 10p per share.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "As we look to 2016 and beyond, we see further significant opportunities for growth across the company organically and through acquisitions and partnerships."

The broadcaster claimed audience figures had come under pressure from the launch of digital channels, a poor performance from some programmes and a strong year for the BBC.

It said its net advertising revenues grew 6% for the year to £1.7bn, up from £1.6bn in 2014.

The company also indicated that the announcement of the special dividend of 10p - equivalent to £400m - reflected the board's confidence in the business and its strong cash generation.

ITV said that it expected the balance of its net advertising revenue to change this year, with a boost from the Euro 2016 football tournament.

The firm acquired UTV's television assets in a £100m deal that closed this week.

Belfast Telegraph