Optimism at ITV as advertising revenues up by 68 per cent

The post lockdown bounce back seems to be in full force. Restaurants and galleries are booked up, pub gardens are rammed despite the bank holiday weather, and marketers are buying ads on ITV. Ad revenues at the broadcaster jumped 68 per cent in April compared with the same month last year, and for May the rise is expected to reach 85 per cent.

It’s not just the ad space that is making money. ITV Studios is doing well with a nine per cent revenue increase, thanks to hit productions including Line of Duty, Unforgotten and Saturday Night Takeaway.

The broadcaster saw viewing figures nudge up by one per cent, boosted big TV events like Oprah’s Meghan and Harry interview, as well as the popularity of series, soaps and Six Nations Rugby. Programming has continued to deliver, despite the lockdown restrictions that plagued the depths of winter, hampering multi-location shoots and international travel.

ITV CEO 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. We finished the quarter strongly with the substantial majority of our shows back in production and a recovering in the advertising market.”

Key to continued success is the move to digital, as ITV fights its ground against the streaming platforms with its Britbox and ITV Hub offerings. McCall added: “We remain committed to investing in the acceleration of our strategy to digitally transform ITV which will, in part, be funded by the delivery of our cost-saving targets.”

Following a 17 per cent revenue drop in the first half of 2020, the broadcaster said last summer that it was aiming to make an extra £25 million of permanent cost savings by 2022.

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