Belfast Telegraph

UTV's owner sees external revenue rise 5% to £772m

By Ravender Sembhy

UTV parent company ITV has posted rising first quarter revenue, helped by a strong performance in its studios division.

The firm, which acquired UTV in February 2016, reported a 5% hike in external revenue to £772m in the three months to March 31, driven by an 11% increase in studios' turnover to £382m and 41% growth in online sales.

Boss Carolyn McCall, who took on the top job in January after seven years as chief executive of easyJet, said: "ITV Studios has delivered a strong performance.

"We have a solid slate of new and returning programmes internationally for both broadcasters and over-the-top platforms with Unforgotten, The War Of The Worlds, Snowpiercer, Good Witch, Suburra, The Voice, The Chase, Big Star's Little Star, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, The Four and Forged In Fire."

The strong performance in studios helped offset more subdued advertising growth of 3%.

ITV expects total advertising to be up 2% over the first half, with profits reflecting the timing of the World Cup.

But George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the group faces a "pretty serious challenge" with the rise of online-only rivals.

"The way we watch TV is changing, and the rise of streaming services has put ITV on a collision course with Netflix and Amazon," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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