Belfast Telegraph

Closing UTV's defined pensions scheme saved £1m, says media giant

ITV chief: Carolyn McCall
ITV chief: Carolyn McCall

By Heney Saker-Clarke

ITV saved costs of £1m when it closed UTV's defined benefits pension scheme earlier this year, its interim results have shown.

ITV took over UTV Media plc in Belfast in 2016.

The company said: "During 2019, following a member consultation, the group decided to close the UTV pension scheme to future benefit accrual with effect from March 21, 2019.

"Members' benefits are no longer linked to pensionable salary. The benefits are now linked to statutory revaluation until retirement.

"This decision gave rise to a one-off, non-cash £1m curtailment credit recognised in exceptional items in the period."

ITV yesterday reported a fall in revenues and earnings for the past six months, despite hailing a strong performance by Love Island.

The company said earnings slumped on the back of sliding advertising revenue and major investment.

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But it announced that the reality dating show - a moneyspinner and ratings hit - will run for two series next year.

The broadcaster saw advertising revenues fall by 5% for the six months to June, marking a slight improvement on forecasts.

Total revenues also fell by 5% to £1.75bn, although Love Island helped to boost revenues towards the end of the period.

TV's flagship reality TV programme, which opened to its highest ever viewing figures last month, helped drive the broadcaster to an 18% increase in online revenues after delivering average viewing figures of 4.2 million.

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said Love Island has made an extra £8m on last year's edition of the show due to boosted merchandising and advertising.

The top boss added that she watches the show, which will run two series in 2020, with her teenage children every night.

She said that the show has helped to strengthen advertising revenues after demand weakened in March amid Brexit uncertainty.

She said: "Advertising in the second quarter was better than expected but political uncertainty continues to weaken demand."

Belfast Telegraph

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