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ITV puts worst of pandemic behind it amid advertising rebound

·2 min read

Broadcasting giant ITV has said the worst of the pandemic impact is behind it as the group revealed a strong advertising rebound, with the Euros helping it to a record June performance.

The group behind hit shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Love Island said the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament and easing of coronavirus restrictions saw it notch up a 115% hike in ad revenues last month – the best result in ITV’s history.

ITV said external revenues leapt 27% higher to £1.5 billion and total advertising revenues rose 29% to £866 million in the six months to June 30.

Pre-tax profits jumped to £133 million from £15 million a year ago and more than doubled on an underlying basis to £301 million from £143 million.

It forecast ad revenues to continue growing over the summer, albeit at a slower pace as it comes up against a solid performance from a year earlier, expecting July to be 68% higher and up to a 20% rise in August.

The group pledged to restart shareholder dividends thanks to the marked bounce-back, with plans for a 3.3p-a-share final payout at the 2021 full-year results.

Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, said: “Our half-year results demonstrate that ITV is emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic.”

She added: “We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues.”

Investment in ITV Studios and production continued over the half-year, with the group producing six of the top 10 rated dramas in the UK, including Line of Duty, Pembrokeshire Murders and Unforgotten.

But the results showed total viewing dropped 6% in the first half as it came up against record audience levels a year earlier during lockdowns, while the recent lifting of restrictions also impacted figures.

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