Advertising revenue rebounds strongly for British broadcaster ITV

By Reuters

<p><body> <p>By Paul Sandle</p> <p><span class="caps">LONDON</span> (Reuters) – <span class="caps">ITV</span> said its advertising revenue was rebounding strongly from the impact of <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19, with April up 68%, May expected to be up about 85% and June between 85% and 90% higher, boosted by the Euros soccer tournament and the return of “Love Island”.</p> <p>The British broadcaster said in a first-quarter update that it expected total ad revenue for the first half to rise around 26% on 2020, despite pandemic restrictions being in place for nearly all of the period.</p> <p>Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said: “We have made a good start to 2021 with total revenue and total viewing both up, despite the continuing impact of the pandemic. </p> <p>“We finished the quarter strongly with the substantial majority of our shows back in production and a recovery in the advertising market.”</p> <p><span class="caps">ITV</span>, which has a Studios production arm and a Media and Entertainment arm, said first-quarter total external revenue rose 2% to 709 million pounds ($985 million), driven by a 9% increase in Studios, which made the hit police drama “Line of Duty” for the <span class="caps">BBC</span>.</p> <p><span class="caps">ITV</span>’s total viewing was up 1%, helped by the popularity of entertainment show “Saturday Night Takeaway”, crime drama “Unforgotten” and Six Nations rugby.</p> <p>Shares in <span class="caps">ITV</span>, which hit a nine-year low of 50 pence on March 23 2020, the day the first lockdown was announced, have risen 13% since the start of the year. They were trading up 0.6% at 125 pence at 0800 <span class="caps">GMT</span>.</p> <p>Analysts at Barclays said <span class="caps">ITV</span>’s first-quarter revenues were 1% ahead of consensus, and the guide for second-quarter advertising of up 79-81% was ahead of current consensus.</p> <p>“<span class="caps">ITV</span> advertising momentum is clearly strong but this is arguably a <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 induced short-term cyclical tailwind,” they said. “The key question is whether investors will favour this over structural concerns.” </p> <p>($1 = 0.7198 pounds)</p> <p/> <p> (Editing by Kate Holton and Alexander Smith)</p> </body></p>