Belfast Telegraph

'X Factor' boost for ITV advert revenues

Broadcaster ITV has said that the television advertising market continued to "recover strongly" after it reported a 16% year-on-year rise in ad revenues for the quarter to September 30.

The broadcaster's performance in the period was helped by the football World Cup and the return of The X Factor, while fourth quarter revenues are expected to be 10% higher than a year ago as the talent show heads towards its conclusion in December.

It has been reported that a 30-second advertising slot during the weekend of the X-Factor final could cost advertisers up to £250,000.

Other successes expected to bolster the fourth quarter include Downton Abbey, which drew an audience of more than 10 million for its final episode.

Despite the prime-time successes, new chief executive Adam Crozier said ITV's turnaround plan had a long way to go.

"The television advertising market has continued to recover strongly.

"However, this does not disguise the significant challenges ITV faces and we remain focused on delivering the five-year transformation plan," he said.

The early part of the strategy has seen ITV launch high-definition versions of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 on the Sky platform, while it has also agreed new three-year deals for both The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

Mr Crozier, who joined ITV from the Royal Mail in April, added: "The economic outlook for 2011 is uncertain and we continue to plan on a cautious basis."

ITV's calls for the scrapping of the Contract Rights Renewal system, which allows advertisers to cut the amount they pay if ITV1's audience shrinks, were rejected last year.

The broadcaster, which is also home to shows such as I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and Coronation Street, accounted for 982 of the top 1,000 most-watched programmes on commercial television last year.

Total ITV revenues rose 11% to £1.45bn over the first nine months of the year, with a 16% jump in broadcasting and online sales offset by a 10% drop in external revenues at ITV Studios.

Numis Securities said it expected to raise its forecasts for annual pre-tax profits from £250m to £280m, compared with a figure of £108m last year.

UTV will publish its quarterly results tomorrow.